China, U.S. reach agreement on beef, poultry and natural gas
Trump administration officials hailed the deal as a significant advance toward boosting U.S. exports and close America's trade gap with the world's second-largest economy.
The United States would also allow U.S. companies to ship liquefied natural gas to China as part of the bilateral agreement reached following President Donald Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April.
It covers a range of long-standing barriers from agriculture to energy to the operation of American financial firms in China.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hailed the agreement as "a herculean accomplishment" forged in record time.
"This is more than has been done in the whole history of U.S.-China relations on trade," Ross told reporters Thursday evening at the White House. "Normally trade deals are denominated in multiple years, not tens of days."
In Beijing, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told reporters that the early results of the agreement showed that economic collaboration between the two sides "couldn't be closer."
But while the agreement touches on many of the trade barriers American companies have long complained about, it remains to be seen how far China will go to allow more American exports. Previous administrations have hailed market-opening agreements only to be left disappointed.
"The key in these negotiations is specifics that are enforceable - literally the devil is in the details," said Scott Mulhauser, the former chief of staff at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. ■