U.S.–CHINA TRADE TALKS ACHIEVE “CLEAR PROGRESS”
This month, a meeting with Chinese trade officials in Washington made significant progress on key trade issues between the United States and China.
The resolution of trade issues between China and the United States was the topic of talks held in Washington, D.C., on April 11. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns met with Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi for the 17th plenary meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT).
At the meeting, China committed to addressing U.S. trade concerns in four areas: (1) enhancing access of U.S. companies, as well as U.S. farmers and ranchers, to the Chinese market; (2) improving protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in China; (3) improving transparency and (4) working with the United States on structural and regulatory initiatives that address the concerns of U.S. industry.
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| U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez (left) and Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi (right) at the meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade held in Washington, D.C., on April 11. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)
Specific commitments made by the Chinese representatives at the talks included the following:
- Opening the Chinese market to U.S. beef exports
- Commencing formal negotiations to join the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and submit its Appendix I GPA offer of coverage no later than December 2007
- Issuing a notice that requires all computers produced or imported in China to have preloaded operating system software
- Stepping up enforcement of existing IPR laws and agreements to combat piracy of films, music, and software
- Requiring Chinese government offices to publish all trade-related measures, including all draft measures, in a single official journal
- Eliminating costly redundancies in the inspection and testing of imported medical devices
- Agreeing to continue a dialogue on the steel industry that was launched in 2005
Those actions resulted from extensive discussions between U.S. and Chinese officials during the past several months.
While welcoming China’s recent commitments and actions, U.S. officials made clear that they look forward to more progress in addressing impediments to U.S. trade. “We’ve made clear progress in some areas, including intellectual property rights and market access,” said Secretary Gutierrez. “We still have work to do, but today’s meeting was a positive step forward on a number of key issues.”
Ambassador Portman agreed. ”Our message to China has been consistent and clear. American exporters, workers, farmers, and service providers deserve the same access to Chinese markets as China has to our markets, he said. “At today’s meeting, we achieved forward movement in a number of significant areas like government procurement and regulatory transparency.”
Secretary Johanns recognized the significance of the Chinese agreement on imports of U.S. beef, noting “we will work quickly to finalize the terms of this market opening. China is an important market for U.S. beef, accounting for $100 million of our beef exports in 2003.”
U.S. and Chinese officials also agreed to establish a U.S.–China High-Technology and Strategic Trade Working Group under the JCCT. The group will review export control cooperation and facilitate high-technology trade. Among the group’s first activities will be to plan a bilateral export control seminar in China.
Established in 1983, the JCCT is an annual government-to-government platform designed to develop and to facilitate the U.S.–China commercial relationship. The United States uses the JCCT as a forum to identify and to resolve problems, as well as to expand trade opportunities. The previous JCCT meeting was held in Beijing on July 11, 2005.
USTR Report Offers Details on U.S.-China Trade
More information on U.S.–China trade is available in a recent report issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), titled U.S.–China Trade Relations: Entering a New Phase of Greater Accountability and Enforcement . The document, published in February 2006, is a top-to-bottom review of trade between the two countries. It is available from the USTR’s Web site at www.ustr.gov.