China Commits to Resume Talks On Beef Trade With U.S.

Two days of meetings in December under the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) resulted in agreements signed on several fronts, including a commitment by China to resume talks on beef trade.

Two days of meetings in December under the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) resulted in agreements signed on several fronts, including a commitment by China to resume talks on beef trade.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the two sides will return to the negotiating table on beef trade "as soon as possible with the goal of re-opening China's market in early 2011.

According to Vilsack, the United States team will travel to China for the talks.

Chinese media report that in the course of the JCCT discussions China "reaffirmed that, in compliance with its own quarantine requirement, it will resume the import of American beef, deboned and bone-in, under the age of 30 months."

"We are very encouraged that China has committed to technical talks to address beef market access," said Patrick Boyle, head of the American Meat Institute. "Open trade between our nations is in our mutual best interest. The potential market for U.S. beef exports to China is significant."

The U.S. Meat Export Federation said that full access to China's beef market would be valued at $200 million.

As for the issue of China's trade deficit with the United States, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming called on the United States and others to lift controls on exports to China as a way to address the imbalance. "In our efforts to increase our imports, we very much hope that those countries still having a trade deficit vis-à-vis China could lift or relax export controls towards China," Chen stated. "Therefore if the United States could offer substantial export facilitation to China, and allow an increase of its exports to China, this would be a help against the high unemployment rate in the United States today."

But Chen questioned whether U.S. trade data accurately portray China's trade balance with the United States, noting China often exports products back to the United States that are made from components that first were imported into China from the United States. 

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