Reuters CHICAGO (Reuters) — U.S. officials pressed China on issues related to poultry, beef and biotechnology in recent trade talks, a U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary said on Tuesday, highlighting some of Washington’s priorities in the negotiations.
The United States and China have threatened tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth up to $150 billion each as part of the conflict, in which U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to close the $335 billion annual U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China.
For agricultural products, the United States focused on policy and regulatory issues in the talks, including “access for poultry, languishing biotechnology trait approvals” and other topics, said Ted McKinney, USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, on a conference call with reporters.
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 United States Trade Representative’s chief agricultural negotiator, and other officials.
Sources previously said the United States was pushing China to drop a ban on U.S. poultry imports and that the USDA was seeking better access for genetically modified crops into China.
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 trade in U.S. beef as part of 100 days of trade talks. “They of course were very focused on numbers,” McKinney said of Chinese officials at the Beijing talks.
“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.”
McKinney said he wants to hold more trade talks with China. The country is the world’s top importer of soybeans and a major buyer of other agricultural goods, such as the livestock feed sorghum.