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U.S. Patience With China Wears Thin as Trade-Deal Pledges Unmet -Breaking


© Bloomberg. In this aerial photograph, soybeans were harvested using a Case IH combined harvester. This was taken above Wyanet in Illinois on Friday, September 25, 2020. As U.S. harvesting continues, soybean futures dropped to their lowest level in nearly two weeks. Also, corn prices fell. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg). Apparently, the U.S. has lost patience with China following the failure to fulfill its commitments to purchase under the Trump administration’s trade agreement.

The U.S. has engaged with China’s government on the shortfalls, but hasn’t seen any real signs of the nation making good on its commitments over the last several months, the officials said, asking not to be named without permission to speak publicly.

While China continues to talk with the U.S., the Biden administration wants the nation to take concrete action, and that hasn’t happened, the officials said. According to officials, while the administration continues to push China for compliance, it sees this as an illustration of the limitations of the so-called Phase-One deal that it has inherited.

China didn’t meet the purchasing targets in the agreement, in which it pledged to buy an extra $200 billion in U.S. agriculture, energy and manufactured products over the 2017 level in the two years through the end of 2021. At the same time, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has said repeatedly that the Biden administration’s concerns go beyond the purchase commitments and include Beijing’s state-centered industrial policy.

While U.S. December data won’t be available until Tuesday, data through November show that China’s imports from the U.S. amounted to less than 60% of its pledges. Beijing committed to preventing the theft of intellectual property from America and to opening its market to U.S. financial services providers.

The Biden administration took months at its start to review its predecessor’s policy toward China and deliberate on a new direction to deal with Beijing’s economic practices, putting its initial focus on domestic policy and Covid-19 relief. As leverage, the U.S. maintained tariffs on Chinese annual exports of more than $300 Billion.

Biden last month said that he’d like to be in a position to say that China is meeting more of the nation’s commitments and therefore some tariffs can be lifted, but “we’re not there yet.” 

Last month, both Tai and her deputy in charge of Asia, Sarah Bianchi, said talks with Chinese counterparts on trade issues have been “difficult.”

China’s lack of compliance with the deal is the purview of the USTR and the White House is in close touch with Tai’s office about updates on the process, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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