- Intellectual property and regulatory obstacles addressed.
- U.S. reiterates need to expand export market access.
- Number of reverse trade missions to increase.
FOLLOWING the conclusion of the 23rd session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce & Trade (JCCT), U.S. officials announced meaningful progress on key elements of the U.S.-China trade relationship but also underscored that much more work remains to be done to open China's market to U.S. exports and investment.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank hosted China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan on Dec. 18-19 in Washington, D.C. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also participated in the discussions to address key agricultural trade concerns.
The U.S.-China JCCT holds high-level plenary meetings on an annual basis to review progress made by working groups that focus on a wide variety of trade issues. These working groups meet throughout the year to address topics such as intellectual property rights, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, information technology, tourism, commercial law, the environment and statistics.
Established in 1983, the JCCT is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade issues and promoting commercial opportunities between the U.S. and China.
The 2011 JCCT meeting was held in Chengdu, China, where China agreed, among other issues, to improve intellectual property enforcement, delink innovation policies to government procurement preferences and provide a fair and level playing field in China's strategic emerging industries.
China was the largest supplier of U.S. goods imports in 2011 and was the third-largest market for U.S. exports in 2011 (after Canada and Mexico). Exports of U.S. goods to China were valued at $104 billion in 2011, up 542% since 2000. Trade in services with China (exports and imports) totaled $38 billion in 2011, with exports worth $27 billion and imports worth $11 billion.
Kirk said the meetings serve as a "capstone to our past efforts and lay a foundation for progress going forward." He added that progress was made on issues of fundamental concern.
Blank noted that despite the progress, there is still work to do.
"Among other important outcomes, we were able to address U.S. concerns relating to intellectual property and innovation, to agree on the elimination of significant regulatory obstacles that were impeding U.S. exports and to secure meaningful steps for dealing with core issues in China's government procurement agreement accession. As China continues to open its market to American exports and investment, it will benefit both of our countries," she said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture continued advancing U.S. agricultural interests in bilateral trade discussions with the Chinese government. Ahead of the meeting, Vilsack said he planned to address a range of market access issues affecting exports of U.S. meat and poultry products as well as horticultural products.
"China is currently the top export market for agricultural products produced by America's farmers and ranchers, and we were able to make progress on several key issues while reinforcing the inherent value of the products produced in the U.S.," Vilsack said. "Much more work remains to be completed, and we'll continue working with our Chinese counterparts in the year ahead."
The U.S. and China also signed agreements related to enhancing the understanding and measurement of bilateral trade and increasing the number of reverse trade missions, which support China's continued development while creating more U.S. exports and jobs.