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VIDEO: AUSTR Tim Stratford on the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

10/26/2009 - 2:30pm

On Wednesday, Ambassador Kirk and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will serve as co-chairs with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan of the 20th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) held on Wednesday, October 28th and Thursday, October 29th in Hangzhou, China. The JCCT, established in 1983, is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade matters and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China.

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China Affairs Tim Stratford recently recorded a video talking about the history of the JCCT, as well as the history of trade with China. Watch the video below.

Read the remarks below:

"On October 28th, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk travels along with Commerce secretary Gary Locke and Agriculture secretary Vilsack to the Peoples Republic of China to attend the 20th Joint Commission on Cooperation and Trade meeting with Vice-Premier Wang Qishan.

Founded in 1983, the JCCT was established under the notion that when we cooperate with China, both America and China stands to benefit.

The JCCT was initiated on a tradition of cooperative trade that for China stretches back through the millennia.

2000 years ago Roman emperors sent trading delegations to the Chinese imperial court, bartering for silk amongst other goods.

One thousand years later, Marco Polo traveled to the court of the great Kublai Khan, trading goods along the way. On his journey he witnessed and wrote about the monolithic treasure fleets of Zheng He (Jung He), which plowed through unchartered waters, trading Chinese goods for exotic items from Africa, Arabia and Sumatra.

In 1783, the story of American trade with China commenced when merchants, in the tradition of Zheng He, bravely sailed across the oceans to reach Chinese shores, exchanging American ingenuity and innovation for luxury items ranging from tea to fine chinaware.

And in 1844, recognizing the mutually beneficial trading relationship developing between China and America, President John Tyler dispatched Congressman Caleb Cushing to negotiate a treaty and establish official ties between China and America. The resulting treaty- the treaty of Wangxia (Wang-chi-a) established an institutional framework for trade.

Moving forward, events in the early 20th century provide valuable lessons to us today, principally that cooperation is a necessary hallmark in a successful relationship, unfortunately we learned this the hard way.

From 1949 to 1973, American relations with China were frozen due to differing perspectives on fundamental issues.

Following the re-establishment of relations, a general cognizance of the importance of dialogue developed. And in 1983, the United States and the Peoples Republic of China initiated the Joint Commission on Cooperation and Trade.

The JCCT has been an essential tool in the continued dialogue between our countries in order to discuss relevant issues and problems as well has finding the middle ground when differing perspectives of an issue arise.

We look forward to continue a successful tradition of mutually beneficial trade in the future."