The deal takes additional escalation of tariffs by both countries off the table but is lacking specifics on when existing tariffs on US fresh produce and other agricultural commodities will be removed.
The Office of the US Trade Representative said in December that the agreement requires structural reforms to China’s economic and trade rules in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange.
The deal also has a commitment by China, according to the USTR, that it will make substantial additional purchases of US goods and services in the coming years.
Richard Owen, vice president of global membership and engagement for the Produce Marketing Association, said in a Dec. 13 e-mail that the deal is a good sign that trade relations are thawing of trade relations between the two countries.
However, the discouraging part of the announcement is that the tariffs imposed by China do not appear to be addressed in the phase one agreement, he said. “The tariffs currently in place by China range from 10% on frozen vegetables and fruit juices, up to 50% on fresh apples, cherries, oranges, grapes and plums.”
The dispute with China had its beginning on May 10 last year, when President Trump increased duties on USD200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10% to 25%. China retaliated in July last year with 40% retaliatory tariffs. US fresh non-citrus fruit exports to China from November 2018 to October 2019 totalled USD110.3 million, down 18% from USD122.2 million in 2018 and 44% down from USD177 million in 2017.US fresh citrus exports from November 2018 to October 2019 totalled USD23.7 million in 2019, down 61% from USD60.5 million in 2018 and 57% down from USD54.5 million in 2017. The Packer