China and US flags
Both countries agree to initially concentrate on agricultural trade, financial services, investment, and energy issues.
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. and China have actively joined economic dialogue talks to address agricultural trade, financial services, investment, and energy issues between the two countries in a new economic cooperation with a 100-day action plan.

The China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue is being led by Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross of the United States and Vice Premier Wang Yang of China, both nations have negotiated intensively to make progress on key issues.

Both sides further committed to strengthen communication and coordination to jointly advance those issues and achieve resolution as soon as possible. Further, as concrete progress is made in implementing the actions under the 100-day plan, the two sides will begin discussing a one-year plan to further solidify actions in promoting U.S.-China economic engagement and cooperation. The first meeting of the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, is to be held in the U.S. during the summer of 2017.

As part of the 100-day plan, China will begin the process by allowing imports of U.S. beef into the country, a development that will benefit soybean farmers given that soybean meal is a component of cattle feed rations domestically, according to the American Soybean Association (ASA).

ASA president Ron Moore
Ron Moore, ASA president.

“Clearly, we’ve been frustrated for some time now with the slow and unpredictable nature of China’s biotech approval process that has hampered the ability of U.S. soybean farmers to adopt the latest biotech traits,” said Ron Moore, ASA president. “This announcement that the Chinese have committed to ruling on eight outstanding traits is a major step forward. We recognize and greatly appreciate the administrations of both President Trump and President Xi for coming together and establishing a dialogue that we hope will yield more progress on biotech traits and larger market access issues in China in the future.”

China is by far the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans. American farmers sent more than $14 billion in soybeans, meal and oil to China, or roughly one in every four rows of beans produced in the U.S. Under the 100-day plan, China’s National Biosafety Committee (NBC) has committed to conduct science-based evaluations of the eight outstanding traits, and either approve or offer justification for—and next steps to resubmit following—rejection for each.

“There’s not a soybean farmer in the country that doesn’t recognize the importance of the Chinese market to his or her success,” Moore said. “The Chinese are our most significant trading partners, and while we understand that this step only clears the current backlog of unapproved traits, we hope that it will signal progress in opening and clarifying China’s approval process.”