American banks may face new competition from Chinese firms under new US-China trade deals

Key Points
  • The dialogue with China is an ongoing process, Ross says.
  • The trade deals are the first tangible results of last month's talks between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Wilbur Ross: I have a new boss who's very demanding things get done on time
Wilbur Ross: I have a new boss who's very demanding things get done on time

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Friday the new U.S. trade deals with China include a promise to allow Chinese banks greater access in America.

In addition to paving the way for U.S. beef imports to China and Chinese chicken imports to the United States, Ross said the agreements with Beijing lay the groundwork for treating Chinese banks the same way as the U.S. treats other foreign banks.

"We've agreed to treat their financial institutions, their banks, the same way as we evaluate other foreign banks when they want to come and open up activities in the U.S.," Ross said on "Squawk Box." "Clearly China, whose banks are among the largest in the whole world, wants access to the U.S. banking market."

But he said there's no specific date on when it may happen, and it would be dependent on China complying with U.S. standards. "As long as they can comply with the normal rules, they will get access."

In financial services, in turn, Beijing will also allow U.S.-owned card payment services to begin the licensing process in a sector where China's UnionPay system has had a near monopoly.

Foreign-owned companies in China will also be able to provide credit rating services.

The deals are the first concrete results of trade talks that began last month after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Florida to discuss cooperation between the world's two largest economies.

Ross, a billionaire who made his fortune investing in distressed assets, said the dialogue with China is an ongoing process, and these developments should help reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China.

But he's encouraged by the quick progress that happened in a matter of weeks for trade deals that usually take years to achieve.

"I have a new boss who's very demanding that things get done on time. So I'm quite relieved that we ad tangible achievements," Ross said, referring to Trump.

— Reuters contributed to this report.