During president Xi's visit to the US last month, the countries agreed to engage in talks over the next 100 days on reducing barriers to trade. Last Thursday (May 11), during the lead up to this week's Silk Road summit, the United States and China issued a 10-point itemisation of breakthroughs in the current talks. Most of the achievements were broadly formulated and several were already agreed in principle.
Hard dates were set for when China will begin to allow imports of US beef and credit card companies will be allowed to file for operating licences in China. China also promised to allow foreign companies to provide credit ratings services and accelerate application processing for permits to import of genetically modified grains. Correspondingly, the US will allow the import of cooked poultry from China and export of liquefied natural gas to China. In addition, the United States formally recognised China's Silk Road project and sent an official delegation to the summit last weekend.
These small advances are largely seen as an indication of the willingness of the two economic giants to cooperate, thereby reducing fears of a trade war between the two countries. China and the US are considering extending the 100-day trade talks to a year. Companies on both sides of the Pacific are withholding judgement on talks until they see more concrete outcomes.