China is doing the bare minimum to comply with the most recent U.S. trade deal, leaving some to wonder if it’s truly the ‘herculean accomplishment’ the Trump administration claims.
The trade deal between the U.S. and China opens markets for only a few industries, and in the two months since the deal was completed in May, some American businesses say not much has changed. (RELATED: Trump Team Hails US-China Trade Deal As ‘Herculean Accomplishment’)
China has “delivered on the promises by the date they’ve been required, but they could do more,” Jake Parker, vice president for the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents U.S. firms in China, told the Wall Street Journal Sunday.
The trade deal provides small improvements to market access for three financial sectors and two agriculture sectors. The small changes “indicate from the Chinese perspective that their market is open,” according to Parker, but “whether foreign companies can actually operate there is still unclear” in other industries.
For instance, American companies may now sell beef in China but must provide extensive documentation for each cow sold to verify that the animal was not treated with growth hormones, making American beef a niche product for the country.
“It’s not going to move the needle in the short term,” Marcel Smits, chief financial officer at beef producer Cargill Inc., told WSJ.
The beef trade deal reaffirms a preliminary agreement made in September 2016 for China to lift a 14-year ban on U.S. beef.
In the financial sector, the benefit of the trade deal allows U.S. credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard to apply for approval to sell in China but doesn’t guarantee the applications will be accepted.
The government expects that after the initial weeks of the agreement, negotiators will be able to provide additional benefits to U.S. industries.
“We hope to report further progress on deliverables next week,” a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Commerce told WSJ Thursday.
At the same time, President Donald Trump has continued to threaten levying tariffs and instituting trade quotas on steel, a move that would hurt China, the largest steel producer in the world.
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