China to lift some US agriculture restrictions, announces real estate deal at JCCT

Global Business

A small part of a huge pile of harvested corn being stored on the ground in Nebraska pending shipping to market. Creative commons / flickr / John Lillis

China has agreed to lift restrictions on imports of three types of genetically modified seeds: One strain of corn, and two strains of soybeans, according to the trade delegations from both countries at the concluding press conference of the 25th U.S. China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported this story from Chicago.

The countries have also agreed to implement a food safety inspector exchange program and take steps to cut down on unregulated fishing.

The parties will also implement geographical indicators for U.S. cheese to allow it into Chinese markets and reduce red tape around the export of new U.S. medical devices and pharmaceuticals to China, according to U.S. negotiators.

Chinese negotiators said the U.S. will ease restrictions on a Chinese fish imports and next year, both countries will open two way trade in apples. In addition, Chinese officials said the U.S. is also weighing the possibility of granting licenses to China for one, and perhaps two high tech exports for oil and gas drilling.

Wanda Group, Magellan Investment Partners sign deal to build $900 million Wanda Tower in Chicago  Courtesy: Jessica Stone, CCTV America

Wanda Group, Magellan Investment Partners sign deal to build $900 million Wanda Tower in Chicago
Courtesy: Jessica Stone, CCTV America

The GMO corn strain known as MIR 162 is grown in the United States and was developed by Switzerland’s Syngenta.  The GMO soy varieties were developed by Dupont Pioneer and Bayer CropScience.  Industry sources said the change of heart was due to warming relations between the U.S. and China after the APEC forum in Beijing last month.

“We believe the approval came because of a better China-U.S. relationship, which has improved since the APEC meeting,” Li Qiang, chief analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. Ltd, one of the country’s leading consultancies, said.

Chicago welcomes Chinese real-estate deal

The City of Chicago also announced that the Beijing-based Wanda Group will make a $900 million real-estate development in a joint venture with Magellan Investment Partners. According to the city, the 88 story mixed-use development will include a hotel with approximately 250 rooms, 390 condominiums, and approximately 9,000 square feet of retail space. The development will be located along the Chicago River and is expected to break ground in 2016.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also said the development will create 2,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs to run the facility.

“I think the size of the skyscraper is only equaled by the size of the statement it’s making in the city of Chicago,” he said.

In August, Wanda Group announced that it had purchased a plot of land in Beverly Hills, California to build a $1.2 billion mixed-use development site. Earlier this year, it purchased the AMC Theaters chain for $2.6 billion.

Dalian Wanda Group Corp. Ltd. is led by Wang Jianlin, one of the world’s richest people.  The group focuses on investments in real estate, tourism, hotels, and entertainment.

This story includes information from Reuters.