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13/05/2017 | Economy - U.S. Strikes China Trade Deals but Leaves Major Issues Untouched

Keith Bradsher

BEIJING — The United States has reached a set of trade deals with China covering areas like electronic payment services, beef and poultry, compromising on some Obama administration stances but leaving untouched bigger issues that could still complicate relations between the two major trading partners.


The disclosure of the deals on Thursday evening — which included an announcement that the United States would be represented at a forum in Beijing devoted to President Xi Jinping’s ambitious “One Belt, One Road” international investment initiative — suggests that the Trump administration is trying to smooth relations with Beijing despite President Trump’s harsh anti-China language on the campaign trail.

Under the newly announced deals, China set a deadline for fulfilling its promises to allow American beef and said it would speed up consideration of pending American applications to offer bioengineered seeds in China. It will also allow foreign-owned firms to provide credit-rating services in China, publish guidelines to let American firms offer electronic payment services there, and issue licenses to two American financial institutions to underwrite bonds.

The United States, in turn, said that Matthew Pottinger, a National Security Council official who plays a central role in White House policy making on Asia, would travel to Beijing with one or more Commerce Department officials for the forum this weekend. Sending a delegation recognizes the importance of Mr. Xi’s signature foreign policy to build China’s economic, financial and political ties across Asia, the Mideast, Eastern Europe and East Africa.

The Obama administration had advanced its own regional plan in the form of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that included 12 Pacific Rim nations but left out China. The two plans were widely seen as offering competing visions of Asia’s future. But Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the partnership in January, effectively killing the deal.

The trade deal announced Thursday will also allow Chinese companies to export cooked poultry products and offered reassurance to China that it could buy liquefied natural gas from America.

The trade agreements did not address areas such as steel, aluminum or auto parts — areas where Chinese exports have a deep, industrywide impact. Mr. Trump criticized China’s trade practices both before and after the election, saying China was benefiting at the expense of American workers.

The Trump administration has since moderated its language, with Mr. Trump suggesting that China could strike better trade terms if it helped the United States contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Yu Jianhua, China’s deputy commerce minister, said the trade deals “have changed others’ anticipation on a potential trade war between China and the United States.”

Many of these deals actually consisted of adding new deadlines or details to agreements reached during the Obama administration. Trade officials in both countries had previously agreed that China would resume accepting American beef exports, which China has limited for more than a decade over worries about mad cow disease, but this week’s beef pact set a deadline of July 16.

NY Times (Estados Unidos)


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