U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker led a U.S. delegation in discussions with Vice Premier Wang Yang and other Chinese government officials as part of the 27thsession of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Washington. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus also participated in this year’s JCCT, the last of the Obama Administration. At the conclusion of the discussions, the United States announced key outcomes in the areas of intellectual property protection, pharmaceutical and medical devices, and information security policies.
“The role of the JCCT is to expand the U.S.-China economic relationship by addressing commercial challenges head on and producing concrete results for both our countries. While we have had a productive day, significant challenges remain in our relationship, and we must redouble our commitment to addressing them,” said Secretary Penny Pritzker. “As the two largest economies and the two largest markets in the world, constructive engagement and sustained diplomacy between the United States and China are critical to making progress on the issues that remain in our relationship. That is what the JCCT is all about.”
“Over the years, JCCT has provided a vital platform to discuss the trade and investment issues that shape the U.S.-China economic relationship. This year’s JCCT produced progress on a number of issues facing American workers and businesses, but challenging issues in our bilateral economic relationship remain,”said Ambassador Froman.“What we know is that American workers and businesses are willing to compete with their counterparts in China, but expect to do so on a level playing field. As we conclude the final JCCT under President Obama’s leadership, we are hopeful the JCCT will continue to be an effective forum for sustained and meaningful engagement in the years to come.”
“While the agricultural outcomes of this week’s JCCT did not go as far as the United States had hoped, I remain optimistic that, in the final weeks of this Administration, we can still make additional progress on priority issues including biotechnology approvals and market access for U.S. beef,” said Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I urge both sides to reengage as soon as possible so that we can fulfill this expectation and complete work before the end of the year and the start of the new administration.”
Established in 1983, the JCCT is the primary forum for addressing bilateral trade and investment issues and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China. The 2015 JCCT meeting was held in Guangzhou, China.
Building upon the increased size and scope of the U.S.-China commercial relationship, the JCCT was reinvigorated in 2014 to include a full day of collaborative programing designed to facilitate private sector engagement with officials from the United States and China, as well as to promote the exchange of information on trade opportunities at the state, provincial, and local levels.
This year’s private sector engagements included a celebratory dinner hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the US-China Business Council, as well as roundtable discussions on corporate restructuring, agriculture and food safety, and the digital economy.
Overview of JCCT Outcomes
Through sustained engagement during the course of this past year, the United States and China have reached agreement in several areas of key importance to U.S. farmers, innovators, manufacturers, workers and consumers, including in the following areas:
Implementation: The United States and China agree on the importance of the full implementation of past JCCT outcomes to secure meaningful benefits for our workers and businesses. China agreed to build upon the 2011 commitment of President Hu Jintao to President Obama to delink Chinese indigenous innovation policies from government procurement preferences, and China’s 2011 JCCT and S&ED commitments to eliminate catalogues or measures with such links.
Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals: China committed to strengthen oversight of government procurement of medical devices to ensure foreign brands and foreign-manufactured products are treated in a transparent, fair, and equitable manner, and to not link procurement to policies promoting domestically produced medical devices. China also affirmed that drug registration review and approval shall not be linked to pricing commitments and shall not require specific pricing information.
Intellectual Property Rights Protection and Enforcement: China agreed to a number of IPR-related commitments that will facilitate much needed improvements for a wide range of industries that rely on the ability to protect and enforce their IPR in China. China affirmed that it is strengthening its trade secrets protections and prioritizing enforcement against online IPR counterfeiting and piracy. Both countries recognize the important role of online platforms in developing innovative new ways to deliver safe, reliable, and legitimate products in convenient and affordable ways.
Excess Capacity: Building on Presidential commitments made earlier this year, the U.S. and China agreed to jointly promote the expeditious establishment of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity. In addition, the United States and China recognized the G20 Leaders’ commitment to take effective steps to address the challenges of global excess capacity. Both sides have agreed to exchange information on soda ash and to address global electrolytic aluminum excess capacity.
Innovation: This year’s JCCT provided an opportunity for the U.S. and China to build upon commitments made by Presidents Obama and Xi in September that innovation policies should be consistent with the principle of nondiscrimination. China confirmed that its “secure and controllable” policies will not limit sales opportunities for foreign companies or impose nationality-based restrictions, and will be notified to the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Committee.
Semiconductors: China and the United States jointly reaffirm their commitment to a strong, vibrant global semiconductor industry that operates in fair, open and transparent legal and regulatory environments. China reaffirms that operation of the integrated circuit investment funds will be based on market principles and that the government will not interfere with the normal operation of the funds.