China, US start annual trade talks

Updated: 2013-12-20 13:16


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BEIJING -- Annual trade talks between China and the United States started on Friday in an effort to address trade frictions and build a foundation for the new model of major-power relations between the world's two biggest economies.

"This is the first Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) since the new Chinese and US administrations took office, " Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said at the meeting.

The US delegation includes US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the JCCT, an annual forum launched in 1983 for the two countries to address trade and investment issues.

"The JCCT has witnessed soaring bilateral trade, which has totaled $50 trillion this year from $4 billion in 1983," Wang said.

Bilateral investment has increased to $10 trillion this year from $100 million in 1983, Wang said.

He said the JCCT also helps build a solid foundation for the new model of major-power relations, which presidents of the two countries reached consensus on during their summit in June in California.

Wang stressed the important role played by the JCCT in the past three decades, saying that "without the JCCT, any breakthrough or any resolution to the differences in bilateral trade would be impossible."

Wang said he expects the ongoing JCCT to be a friendly and mutually beneficial meeting.

"We have the potential here today to demonstrate our two countries' ability to remove trade and investment barriers, increase openness and efficiency of our markets, and ensure the stable trade and investment relationship moves forward," Froman said at the opening session.

"Government and business leaders in the US and around the world have expressed how the JCCT should play an important role in supporting shared growth and prosperity between the world's two largest economies," Pritzker said.

"As a former business leader, I believe strongly through close cooperation we can and should achieve mutually beneficial outcomes and tangible results," Pritzker said.

Pritzker said the US-China relationship is "entering in a moment of opportunity" and that the two nations should "seize this moment by taking both short term and long-term steps that show we are pursuing a balanced and ever growing trade and investment relationship."

She suggested the two sides move forward in areas such as intellectual property rights, services liberalization, government procurement, agricultural and other market access and regulatory issues.

"It is important that we make progress. It is critical to the prosperity to the people of both China and the United States. We as leaders have the responsibility," she said.