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U.S.-China Action Plan Will Initially Focus on Agro, Biotech, Other Issues

U.S. President Donald Trump and mainland Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at their recent high-level meeting in Florida to establish a 100-day plan on trade to, among other things, find ways to increase U.S. exports to mainland China while reducing the current bi-lateral trade deficit. The two sides recently reached a consensus on initial commitments under this plan as well as objectives for next steps, including in the areas of agricultural trade, financial services and energy. There are other issues that “will require significant effort to resolve and achieve progress on within the 100-day period,” a joint statement said, and the two sides will work to achieve resolution on those issues as soon as possible. In addition, as concrete progress is made in implementing the actions under the 100-day plan, officials intend to begin discussing a one-year plan to further promote bi-lateral economic engagement and co-operation.

The initial actions under the 100-day plan include the following.

  • Beef
    Following one more round of technical consultations mainland China is to allow imports of U.S. beef on conditions consistent with international food safety and animal health standards as well as the 1999 Agricultural Cooperation Agreement beginning as soon as possible but no later than 16 July.
  • Poultry
    The United States and mainland China are to resolve outstanding issues for U.S. imports of mainland China-origin cooked poultry as soon as possible, after which the United States is to publish a rule no later than 16 July and realise imports of mainland China-origin poultry as soon as possible.
  • Biotechnology
    By the end of May mainland China’s National Biosafety Committee is to conduct science-based evaluations of all eight pending U.S. biotechnology product applications to assess the safety of the products for their intended use. No additional information unrelated to the safety assessment for intended use will be requested of the applicants. For the products that pass these evaluations mainland China is to grant certificates within 20 working days. For those that do not the NBC is to inform the applicants of the additional information needed and then finalise its reviews of resubmitted applications without undue delay.
  • Liquefied Natural Gas
    The United States said it will treat mainland China no less favourably than other non-free trade agreement trade partners with regard to LNG export authorisations and that companies from the mainland may proceed at any time to negotiate all types of contractual arrangements with U.S. LNG exporters, including long-term contracts. As of 25 April, the U.S. Department of Energy has authorised US$19.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas exports to non-FTA countries.

Financial Services
Actions to be taken by 16 July include the following.

  • Mainland China is to allow wholly foreign-owned financial services firms in the mainland to provide credit rating services and to begin the licencing process for credit investigation.
  • Mainland China is to issue any further necessary guidelines and allow wholly U.S.-owned suppliers of electronic payment services to begin the licencing process, which should lead to full and prompt market access. Mainland China is also to continue to allow mainland Chinese banks to issue dual brand-dual currency bankcards that allow U.S. EPS suppliers to process foreign currency payment card transactions.
  • The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission intends to extend the current no-action relief to Shanghai Clearing House for six months, with further extensions amounting to up to three years, if appropriate and consistent with the conditions set forth in the no-action relief. Additionally, the People’s Bank of China and the CFTC will work towards a memorandum of understanding concerning co-operation and exchange of information related to oversight of cross-border clearing organisations.
  • Mainland China will issue both bond underwriting and settlement licences to two qualified U.S. financial institutions by 16 July

Additionally, the applicable U.S. federal regulatory authorities will remain committed to apply in the United States the same bank prudential supervisory and regulatory standards to mainland Chinese banking institutions as to other foreign banking institutions, in like circumstances and in accordance with U.S. law.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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