Key meeting focuses on trade issues

Updated: 2011-11-22 07:12

By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

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CHENGDU - China's major concerns, including US export controls, were not addressed by the US government despite real commitments by Beijing on intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, experts said.

At a news briefing on Monday following the 22nd China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, Wang Chao, vice-minister of commerce, said China and the US have agreed to jointly tackle moves toward protectionism, ease trade friction and avoid the politicizing of economic issues.

The annual meeting was held in Chengdu, Sichuan province. US Secretary of Commerce John Bryson discussed key trade concerns with Chinese commerce officials.

"China and the US achieved fruitful results and reached consensus on many areas," Wang said.

Both parties signed five economic and trade agreements that are related to intellectual property rights, high-tech goods, energy and business cooperation.

But experts said that the US is unwilling to make substantive progress on the issues that concern China most.

Beijing has agreed to make IPR protection a long-term task involving the judiciary and administrative tools and ensure the software integrity of the central and local governments.

The US deeply appreciated China's commitment, Bryson said, in particular Vice-Premier Wang Qishan supervising and coordinating the efforts.

Last October, the State Council launched a six-month campaign to reduce the use of pirated goods, one of the government's most comprehensive efforts to promote IPR protection in recent years.

"China is fully sincere in its attempts to strengthen bilateral economic relations," said Huo Jianguo, director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

And another significant commitment made by the government during the meeting is welcoming foreign firms in helping strategic emerging industries and providing them with a fair and equal business environment, Liu Tienan, head of the National Energy Administration, said.

"The US should be happy about the result of the meetings, as Chinese commitments to the US are positive and concrete," said Zhou Shijian, senior expert on China-US economic and trade relations at Tsinghua University. "But it is a pity that from the Chinese angle, our major concerns have not been addressed."

Wang said China expects the US to make "substantive progress in issues that China is concerned with most".

These include, he said, the US loosening restrictive export measures, recognition of China's market economy status and treating Chinese investment in the US equally.

But at the end of the meeting, the US only agreed to conduct joint research on the impact of US export controls on trade and expand cooperation in the high-tech sector. The US will recognize China's market economy status in a constructive way, the statement said.

The "wordings are almost the same as those that appeared in previous statements. It is disappointing," Zhou said. "They keep making empty promises, without doing anything."

Eric Hirschhorn, under secretary at the Bureau of Industry and Security with the US Department of Industry and Security, said the US is trying to address Chinese concerns.