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Thursday, October 14, 2021


U.S. Trade Relationship With China Remains Challenged

The playing field for U.S. fruit growers exporting to China remains titled against them, and President Biden said Oct. 4 he is pushing China to reform its trade practices before the U.S. significantly eases tariffs on Chinese goods.

“President Biden and his Administration are clear-eyed that Beijing is resistant to making meaningful reforms to address concerns shared by the U.S. and many other countries about the distortions to the global market from its state-centered economic system,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Oct. 4.

The USTR said it has conducted a “comprehensive, thoughtful USTR-led, whole-of-government review” of the bilateral trade relationship with China.

The document said the Trump administration’s “unilateral” approach alienated American allies and partners and hurt select sectors of the American economy.

“We want to bring deliberative, long-term thinking to our approach,” the USTR document said. “Our objective is not to escalate trade tensions with China or double down on the previous Administration’s flawed strategy.”

The USTR said it will take up several steps to re-align U.S. trade policies towards China around Biden administration priorities:

  • The U.S. will discuss with China its performance under the Phase One Agreement. “China made commitments that do benefit certain American industries, including agriculture that we must enforce,” the document said;
  • The U.S. will restart its targeted tariff exclusions process to ease the effects of certain Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods that raised costs on Americans;
  • The U.S. has “serious concerns” with China that were not addressed in the Phase One deal, specifically related to its state-centered and non-market trade practices, which include propping up state-owned enterprises, limiting market access, and other coercive and predatory practices in trade and technology; and
  • The Biden administration will continue consulting and coordinating with allies and partners who share the conviction that the terms of competition with China should be fair.

Exporting to China

Fresh produce trade statistics indicate that U.S. fruit exports to China improved slightly in most recent 12-month period but still lag far behind trade levels of several years ago.

From September 2020 to August 2021, the U.S. exported 51,154 metric tons of fresh fruit to China, up 20% from the same period in 2020 but down 5% compared with 2019 and 53% lower compared with 2017.

By value, the U.S. exported $112.3 million in fresh fruit to China from September 2020 to August 2021, up 8% from 2020, but down 13% from 2019 and off 52% compared with the same period in 2017.

Source: The Packer