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Treaty of Wangxia (Treaty of Peace, Amity, and Commerce between the United States and China), July 3, 1844

On July 3, 1844, Commissioner Caleb Cushing and his Chinese counterpart, Qiying, signed the Treaty of Wangxia, adding their official seals. In exchange for U.S. assistance in suppressing the opium trade, China opened five ports to U.S. merchants, granted legal rights and protections to American citizens, established tariffs, and awarded the U.S. most-favored-nation status.

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

Treaty of Wangxia (Treaty of Peace, Amity, and Commerce between the United States and China), July 3, 1844 Treaty of Wangxia (Treaty of Peace, Amity, and Commerce between the United States and China), July 3, 1844

The First Treaty with China

After Britain’s Opium War with China opened Chinese ports to British commerce in 1842, U.S. merchants petitioned Congress to obtain equal trade rights. In 1844 Representative Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts resigned to become America’s first commissioner to China and negotiated a trade treaty with the Ta Tsing (Qing) Empire. The Treaty of Wangxia, named for the village where it was signed, was the first treaty between the U.S. and China.