China, US seal trade deal as relationship warms

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Beijing and Washington yesterday announced an agreement giving US beef, natural gas and certain financial services access to China’s massive market in a deal highlighting the warm ties nurtured by their presidents.

The US in exchange will allow cooked Chinese poultry to enter US markets.

The agreement marked one of the first concrete results of trade discussions that began a month ago, when Chinese President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump launched a 100-day action plan on economic cooperation during their meeting at the US leader’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Trump lashed out at Beijing throughout his presidential campaign, vowing to crack down on trade policies that he deemed hurt American workers.

But relations between the two governments have been friendlier than expected since his inauguration, and the president trumpeted the new deal Friday on twitter.

“China just agreed that the US will be allowed to sell beef, and other major products, into China once again. This is REAL news!” Trump said.

The US administration was “excited” about Washington’s trade policies, said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as he arrived for a meeting of G7 finance ministers in Italy.

“I think we’re very happy with how we’re proceeding with the Chinese,” he added.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters at the White House that the deal will help reduce the US trade deficit with China, which reached nearly $350 billion last year.

During last year’s campaign, Trump had threatened to impose trade tariffs and label Beijing a currency manipulator, neither of which he has done.

The deal will also allow Chinese companies to buy US liquified natural gas.

The joint statement said the United States would send a delegation to China’s One Belt, One Road summit — Xi’s signature project — on Sunday and Monday.

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