More progress in U.S.-China phase one trade deal

By Jennifer Dorsett

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) recently announced additional progress in the implementation of the agriculture-related provisions of the U.S.-China phase one trade agreement.

In a joint press release, the agencies said these are difficult times, but work continues in both countries to make the agreement a success.

“China is a market of tremendous potential for U.S. agriculture, and these actions will help U.S. exporters expand their sales there,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “We look forward to continued cooperative work with China on implementation of phase one commitments and immediate increases in U.S. exports of all manner of agricultural products.”

Recent progress included clearing U.S. blueberries and California Hass avocados for export to China.

According to the USTR, China imported more than $8.6 billion in fresh fruits and vegetables in 2019. Allowing U.S. blueberries and avocados into the country will provide Chinese consumers with additional produce choices while expanding U.S. farmers’ access to new markets.

U.S. barley for processing can now be exported to China, along with forage products Timothy hay, alfalfa hay pellets and cubes and almond meal pellets and cubes.

China also recently updated its lists of U.S. facilities eligible to export beef, pork, poultry, seafood, dairy and infant formula products to China. The lists now include 499 beef, 457 pork, 470 poultry, 397 seafood, 253 dairy and nine infant formula facilities.

More U.S. facilities are eligible to export U.S. food and agricultural products to China than ever before, according to the agency.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) continues to update its export library to provide additional guidance for U.S. meat and poultry meat exporters, including information related to the scope of products that may be exported to China and Chinese labeling requirements.

China continues to implement its tariff exclusion process to facilitate imports of U.S. commodities, while USDA continues to publish guidance for U.S. exporters.

The release said USTR is continuing to process and, where appropriate, grant exclusions of products from China. USDA also is implementing its obligations under the agreement.

“China has worked with the United States to implement measures that will provide greater access for U.S. producers and exporters to China’s growing food and agricultural markets,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said. “Under President Trump’s leadership, we fully expect this agreement to be a success.”