Market News & Headlines >> U.S.-China Ag Trade Talk Highlights

U.S. agricultural trade officials focused on issues related to poultry, beef and biotechnology in recent trade talks with China, Ted McKinney, USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs told reporters on Tuesday. 

The U.S. agricultural contingent focused on policy and regulatory issues in the talks, including "access for poultry, languishing biotechnology trait approvals" and other topics, McKinney said on a conference call from Japan. Another issue discussed was "the 100-day plan and some of the things that have not been finished there, like the beef protocol," McKinney said. He did not elaborate further. In May 2017, China agreed to expand access to its market for U.S. beef imports as part of 100 days of trade talks. 

There was a basic difference in how the U.S. and China wanted to approach things at the talks in Beijing, McKinney said. "They of course were very focused on numbers," he said of Chinese officials. "We countered by saying we're not talking numbers until we talk through a lot of the policy and regulatory issues that frankly we saw as necessary to discuss to get at any numbers that either country might have pursued." 

The U.S. agricultural contingent “went in skeptical, but came away cautiously optimistic” McKinney of the talks. However, while there were some “frank” discussions on issues, not all issues were even brought up, he said. As a result, there is still much more to work out with China on agricultural trade. 

McKinney was part of the U.S. delegation at the talks in Beijing, which ended on June 3. The delegation also included Gregg Doud, the U.S. Trade Representative's chief agricultural negotiator, and other officials.