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US, China Conclude Joint Commerce and Trade Meeting

by Leroy Baker,, New York

24 November 2011

American representatives at the 22nd session of the United States-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), held in Chengdu, China, announced meaningful progress on key elements of the bilateral trade relationship, but also underscored that much more work remains to be done to open China’s market to US exports and investment.

Established in 1983, the JCCT is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade and investment issues and promoting commercial opportunities between the US and China. The 22nd session was co-chaired by US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and US Secretary of Commerce John Bryson, along with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan.

It was said that progress was made in the removal of important barriers related to electric vehicles, in strengthening measures to eliminate discriminatory indigenous innovation policies, and for the stricter enforcement of intellectual property rights in China.

“The JCCT gives us a mechanism to address the toughest issues in our trade relationship,” Kirk said. “We have reached agreement on a number of important outcomes, though we had hoped to accomplish even more. In our discussions with our Chinese counterparts, we spoke frankly about the need to redouble our efforts going forward.”

“Both sides worked hard to produce some meaningful progress that will help provide a needed boost to US exports and jobs,” Bryson said. “This is a step in the right direction. But we must continue to actively engage our Chinese counterparts to open additional opportunities for US businesses.”

As an example of the progress made at the session, China has agreed to make a significant systemic change in its enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). China will continue high-level involvement that will enhance its ability to crack down on IPR infringement, including the accountability of provincial officials for the enforcement of IPR rights in their areas

In addition, it was said that Wang Qishan personally committed to continue the existing software legalization programme in China. Specifically, he committed to ensure that the provincial legalization efforts would be concluded by the middle of 2012, and at the local and municipal levels by the end of 2013.

The Chinese government also agreed to continue working to develop solutions to combat the sale of infringing goods on the internet, while at the same time moving forward to develop additional protections for legitimate trademarks.

China also announced a new requirement for provincial and local governments – by December 1 this year – to eliminate any policies that are not consistent with the commitment to sever the link between China’s innovation policies and government procurement, thereby eliminating policies that discriminate against foreign intellectual property.

China plans to manufacture one million new energy vehicles annually by 2015, and five million annually by 2020. It was confirmed that, with regard to electric vehicles, China does not, and will not, require foreign manufacturers to transfer technology to Chinese enterprises, nor to establish Chinese brands, in order to invest and sell in China’s fast-growing market.

China also confirmed that foreign-invested enterprises are eligible on an equal basis for electric vehicle subsidies and other incentive programmes for such vehicles.

“US firms can compete and win when they enjoy non-discriminatory access in China,” Bryson confirmed. “In today’s meeting, China committed to create a fair and level playing field for all companies in its strategic emerging industries, including clean energy, biotech, and new generation information technologies.”

It is hoped that more open and non-discriminatory innovation policies will help boost US advanced technology exports to China, which have grown steadily since China joined the World Trade Organization, and reached USD29.6bn in 2010. These exports to China have outpaced US advanced technology exports globally, reflecting the growing prominence of China’s market.

According to published reports, in the next five years, China plans to invest USD1.5 trillion in its strategic emerging industries which China defines as high-end equipment manufacturing, energy-saving and environmentally friendly technologies, biotechnologies, new generation information technologies, alternative energy, advanced materials and new energy vehicles.

TAGS: environment | tax | business | trademarks | energy | public sector | law | intellectual property | China | enforcement | internet | manufacturing | United States | tax breaks | trade

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