USTR - United States Welcomes Chinese Action on Key Trade Issues
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

United States Welcomes Chinese Action on Key Trade Issues
Positive Steps on Market Access, IPR and Procurement; More Needs to Be Done 04/11/2006
WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and United States Trade Ambassador Rob Portman met with Vice Premier Wu Yi for the 17th annual senior-level meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). Commenced in 1983, the JCCT is an ongoing dialogue to address issues affecting US-China trade and investment.

At today’s meeting, China committed to addressing a number of U.S. trade concerns in three areas: enhancing access of U.S. companies and farmers and ranchers to the Chinese market; improving protection of intellectual property rights in China; and moving toward a transparent and market-oriented system of government procurement in China.

The Chinese agreed to the following: reopening its market to U.S. beef exports; launching negotiations to join the WTO government procurement agreement; requiring Chinese computers to use legal software; closing optical disk plants that produce pirated CDs and DVDs and stepped up enforcement of IPR; requiring all trade-related measures to be published in a single official journal; eliminating barriers to trade in medical devices; and the launching of a dialogue on the steel industry. These actions have resulted from extensive discussions between U.S. and Chinese officials over the past six months.

"We've made clear progress in some areas including intellectual property rights and market access. We still have work to do, but today’s meeting was a positive step forward on a number of key issues," said Secretary Gutierrez.

"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," said Ambassador Portman. "At today’s meeting we achieved forward movement in a number of significant areas like government procurement and regulatory transparency. We welcome the progress made today and will continue to press for additional steps to promote greater equity, durability and balance in the U.S. China trade relationship."

"I am pleased to announce that China conditionally agreed to resume imports of U.S. beef," said Secretary Johanns. "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. This decision comes after lengthy technical discussions and is based on evidence that our safeguards work and that science supports the safety of U.S. beef."

The U.S. and Chinese officials also agreed to establish a U.S.-China High Technology and Strategic Trade Working Group under the JCCT to review export control cooperation and facilitate high technology trade. Among the Group’s first activities will be planning a bilateral export control seminar in China.

BACKGROUND

The plenary session of the 17th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) was held in Washington, DC on April 11, 2006. The forum was co-chaired on the Chinese side by Vice Premier Wu Yi and on the U.S. side by U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, with Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns playing an important role.

Established in 1983, the JCCT is an annual government-to-government platform designed to develop and facilitate the U.S.-China commercial relationship. The U.S. uses the JCCT as a forum to identify and resolve problems and to expand trade opportunities. The previous JCCT was held in Beijing on July 11, 2005.

USTR released its top-to-bottom review of U.S.-China trade policy on February 14, 2006 in a report entitled, "U.S. - China Trade Relations: Entering a New Phase of Greater Accountability and Enforcement." The report can be found by clicking here.

A listing of outcomes for the 17th annual JCCT will follow in a fact sheet.

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