Warming ties lead to US-China trade deal

US President Donald Trump (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) shaking hands during dinner, on April 7, 2017.
US President Donald Trump (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) shaking hands during dinner, on April 7, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

The United States and China have struck a deal that will see Beijing lift a ban on US beef, allow imports of liquefied natural gas and increase access for US financial firms. In turn, the Americans will allow, among others, imports of cooked poultry from China.

This is the first tangible result of trade talks that began after US President Donald Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida last month.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, calling the deal, which covers 10 items, a "herculean accomplishment", said in Washington: "This will help us to bring down the deficit for sure."

The US trade deficit with China was US$347 billion (S$487.3 billion) last year.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing said "the fact that much progress has been made in a short amount of time shows... we can establish more cooperation for the joint benefit of the people".

In another sign of warming ties, a US delegation led by a top White House adviser will attend the Belt and Road Forum starting in Beijing tomorrow.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2017, with the headline 'Warming ties lead to US-China trade deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe