China, US get things done at trade talks
Updated: 2014-12-19 13:50
By Chen Weihua in Chicago(China Daily USA)
From left: US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker; Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang; and US Trade Representative Michael Froman pose for a photo on Thursday morning before the opening of a plenary session of the 25th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) held Dec 16-18 in Chicago. This year's JCCT session has for the first time included a full-day private sector engagement with government officials from both sides. Chen Weihua / China Daily
China and the United States concluded a major trade and investment meeting in Chicago on Thursday with both sides applauding progress in a wide range of areas from market access to high-technology exports.
After two days of negotiations, the US promised to encourage and facilitate the export of high-tech items to China for civilian use and also to enhance high-tech trade cooperation in key civilian areas, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.
China has long called on the US to eliminate its restrictions on high-tech exports to China.
One potential lifting of restrictions will be on deepwater oil and gas exploration equipment, and the US agreed to actively consider issuing licenses for some items, Zhang Xiangchen, China's assistant minister of commerce, said at a news conference after the conclusion of JCCT.
The US side agreed to work closely with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and conclude the shadow evaluation of the ARJ21-700 plane's airworthiness and explore how to extend review results to a bilateral cargo jet-worthiness agreement. The ARJ21-700 is a regional airliner made by China.
Other achievements claimed by the Chinese cover railroad market access and law firms owned by Chinese nationals.
Zhang said the Chinese side is committed to speeding up the reform of review and approval of drugs and medical devices. It also promised to cut unnecessary clinical tests based on product safety and effective evaluation requirements.
China said it will treat all market entities equally in anti-monopoly enforcement and allow foreign companies' legal advisers to observe meetings between litigants and anti-monopoly enforcement agencies.
China also pledged to increase liberalization of the service sector and improve a law-based business environment.
The Ministry of Commerce said it has noticed that the US Commerce Department announced the final ruling of the second combined anti-dumping and countervailing investigation of solar products from China, imposing steep tariffs.
Some industrial experts believe the US action will curtail the demand for solar energy in the US and hurt US President Barack Obama's ambitions to develop renewable energy.
The ministry said China believes it is natural for the two countries to have frictions in trade and economic cooperation, and it opposes resorting to anti-dumping and countervailing measures from time to time.
China said that as long as the two sides can talk on the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits, they will resolve, manage and control the disputes properly to promote healthy bilateral economic and trade ties, according to a ministry press release.
Speaking before Thursday's discussion, Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang said China and the US have far more common interests than differences.
"If the two sides respect each other, seek common ground while putting aside differences, and seek mutual understanding and accommodation, the path for China-US economic and trade cooperation will become increasingly broader," he said.
This year was the first time the JCCT included a full-day private sector engagement with trade officials from both governments. The meeting also included a cooperative investment forum, a discussion on agriculture and food cooperation, an investment luncheon focusing on cooperation between cities of the two nations, a travel and tourism program, and a talk on a shared vision of economic leadership.
"We have had a very productive two days," US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker told a closing news conference on Thursday afternoon.
Pritzker said that she and US Trade Representative Michael Froman and Vice-Premier Wang are committed to building a more dynamic and effective economic dialogue between the two countries.
"And it has worked," said Pritzker, who is originally from Chicago. "Yesterday, we had the opportunity to hear from our respective private sectors, and today our goal was to keep their thoughts and insights in mind during government to government dialogue, and I think we did just that."
Pritzker hailed the outcome on geographical indicators, the agreement to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, three US-produced seeds for agriculture, and the fairer enforcement of China's anti-monopoly law.
While saying that each of these areas is important to US companies, she admitted that "none of this is to say that we got all the outcomes we wanted, or the deals we got are perfect."
Pritzker noted that there was a renewed spirit and effort in this year's JCCT on both sides.
"And I look forward to continuing this dialogue in the months and years to come."
Froman also called it a successful JCCT, in terms of building mutual trust and respect, making progress through frank conversation, and progress made to support US jobs and exports.
"The JCCT is one of our best tools to strengthening the relationship between our nations, engaging our most challenging issues, and ultimately delivering economic benefits to our people," Froman said.
Established in 1983, the JCCT has been the primary forum for addressing bilateral trade and investment issues and promoting commercial opportunities between the two countries.
Besides meetings led by senior officials from both sides, a total of 16 working groups meet throughout the year.