On Thursday night, the United States and China reached an agreement on a new trade deal. What exactly is in the agreement, how beneficial is it to the U.S., and how will it affect relations between the U.S. and China going forward?
Here are seven things you need to know about the new trade deal.
1. China promises to end its ban on U.S. beef imports. China's ban was implemented in 2003 in response to the outbreak of mad cow disease at the time. In exchange for ending the ban, the U.S. will import cooked poultry from China.
However, it should be noted that China had previously promised to end its ban on U.S. beef imports in September, but they failed to follow through on their pledge. This time, China has a July 16 deadline to follow through on ending the ban.
2. China will allow foreign-owned financial services companies to offer operate in the country. According to CNBC, China had previously pledged to do this, but the deal now has a July 16 deadline in place to ensure that China sticks to its commitment. China allowing these firms into the country would "help those agencies expand their business and help improve risk assessment in China's corporate debt market," CNBC explains.
3. The U.S. will grant Chinese financial agencies access to its banking market. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told CNBC, "Clearly China, whose banks are among the largest in the whole world, wants access to the US banking market. As long as they can comply with the normal rules, they will get access."
4. China will expedite the product applications of U.S. biotech companies. This would include companies like Monsanto attempting to get Chinese approval for their genetically modified seeds, but the deal doesn't require China to approve of such products, only that they accelerate the application process.
5. China will allow U.S. electronic payment suppliers to enter their market. However, Ker Gibbs, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, told the Financial Times (FT) that this move "is mainly symbolic."
"This should have been done years ago when it would have made a difference," Gibbs said. "At this point the domestic players are well entrenched so foreign companies will have a hard time entering."
6. The U.S. will urge companies to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China. Ross said on CNBC, "China is the world's largest buyer of LNG. Now that market really is going to be open to the American producers."
However, LNG exports to China won't accelerate until more LNG facilities are built in the U.S., which are currently being held up by the massive web of bureaucracy.
7. The U.S. will support China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative. The initiative is basically China's attempt to recreate the Silk Road through investing billions of dollars in infrastructure to build trade routes to various countries that China can trade with. As The Heritage Foundation's William Wilson noted, "China’s size and trading status is quickly reshaping the economics and geopolitics of Asia. To maintain American economic influence, Washington must stay deeply engaged in the world as well."
According to FT, the U.S. will "embrace" China's initiative:
Under the agreement rolled out on Friday, the US said it would send a delegation to this weekend’s “One Belt, One Road” summit in Beijing in what amounts to a diplomatic embrace of the project.
In return, China would send a delegation to a US meeting for foreign investors in July, with the Trump administration promising equal treatment for China despite a push in some circles in Washington for it to take a tougher line on Chinese investment, particularly in strategic sectors.
The deal doesn't touch a number of things, including " steel, aluminum or auto parts — areas where Chinese exports have a deep, industrywide impact," according to The New York Times. Some analysts contend that the deal is weak, but the main takeaway from the agreement is that President Donald Trump's harsh rhetoric toward China during the election has not translated into policy. If anything, Trump seems to be cozying up to China, perhaps as a way to counter the increasing insanity emanating from North Korea.