China and US agree on major trade measures

Updated: 2012-12-21 01:16

By Chen Weihua in Washington and Bao Chang in Beijing (China Daily)

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Washington talks highlight 'importance of relationship'

Chinese and US officials agreed on a number of measures, including export controls and investment, during trade talks in Washington.

The US pledged to address concerns over fair treatment for Chinese investment in the US, and China vowed to strengthen protection of intellectual property rights, at a meeting of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in the US capital on Wednesday.

The US also agreed to further relax technology export controls.

China vowed to pursue a more open government procurement process and not require foreign companies to transfer technology as a precondition for market access.

Wang Qishan, the vice-premier who headed the Chinese delegation, said the economies of China and the US have become "interdependent and inseparable".

Wang described the two economies as "highly complementary and neither can thrive without the other''.

Global economic recovery will be sluggish over the next five years, Wang said, and this means that ties will be of greater significance.

China has made tangible progress in addressing US concerns over IPR protection, technology transfer, government procurement and market access, he said.

Washington has started to address Chinese concerns on FDI in the US, export controls and visa issues.

Wang described the talks as "effective and fruitful''.

The world's two largest economies are now each other's second-largest trading partners. In 1983, when the talks were launched, bilateral trade was less than $5 billion. It is now approaching $500 billion.

Acting US Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank agreed that relations have never been more important, especially after November's leadership transition.

"We are entering a unique moment in which we can work together to ensure the long-term and short-term goals of our relationship," she said.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who is expected to leave the Obama administration in January, praised Wang for his leadership and devotion to better trade relations.

"Our presence demonstrates that our two countries can work hard to resolve trade and investment issues through engagement and dialogue at the highest level," he said.

But real success will be achieved by delivering tangible results, he said.

Minister of Commerce Chen Deming described the talks as "achieving positive results".

He pledged China will step up the IPR law enforcement, including the software used by State-owned enterprises, banks and government entities.

He said both countries have pledged to fight protectionism.

He expressed concern at the US Department of Commerce announcing on Tuesday it would levy high tariffs on wind towers imported from China.

According to Chen, more than 20 topics were discussed at the meetings on Wednesday.

The US hopes to increase beef exports to China while China wants to boost poultry exports to the US.

"American companies continue to see progress as a result of this high-level engagement," John Frisbie, president of the US-China Business Council, said. The council represents some 240 leading US companies that do business with China.

He Weiwen, co-director at the China-US-EU Study Center of the China Association of International Trade, said China and the US have made progress in protection of intellectual property rights.

"However, it's not easy to remove divergence on some key points. Therefore, seeking common ground is the way to tackle the problem," he said.

Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the International Trade and Economic Cooperation Institute of the Ministry of Commerce, urged Washington to widen access to Chinese investment as "it generates job opportunities".

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AP contributed to this story.

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