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U.S. Officials Cite Progress on Trade in U.S.-China Talks
May 8, 2012

May 7, 2012

Portrait of a man in front of the US flag
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk was among the high-level U.S. officials who participated in the U.S.-China Security and Economic Dialogue.

U.S. officials say progress was made on several priority trade issues during the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), which concluded May 4 in Beijing.

These issues include stepping up enforcement of intellectual property rights and increasing sales of legitimate products; prioritizing enforcement against trade secrets theft; giving intellectual property nondiscriminatory treatment wherever it is owned or developed; reviewing a new comprehensive offer by China in 2012 to join the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement; opening new areas to foreign investment; and beginning intensive discussions with China to ensure that market access is not tied to technology transfer, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said in a posting on its website.

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis visited Beijing May 3–4 as part of the U.S. delegation that participated in the fourth round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. In Beijing, Kirk and Marantis joined S&ED co-chairs Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — along with Commerce Secretary John Bryson and other U.S. officials — for high-level discussions around several key issues related to the U.S.-China bilateral relationship.

Throughout the talks, the USTR notice said, Kirk and Marantis stressed that China is a critical and key trading partner for the United States. China’s annual trade growth averaged 13.9 percent between 1979 and its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, USTR said. Since 2001, that growth has accelerated to 21.6 percent. The United States has a strong interest in China’s continued economic growth, USTR said.

Kirk has stated that, as China grows, it must afford opportunities to companies from all countries fairly, consistently and in accordance with international trading rules. For the United States, ensuring a level playing field is critical to creating new opportunities for the United States’ bilateral trade and investment relationship with China, USTR said.

The U.S.-China relationship has deepened and matured over the last few years, USTR said, adding that President Obama has been very clear that the United States and China need to work together to balance the trade relationship and advance mutually beneficial interests. “Our shared goal and challenge is to address important systemic issues in order to minimize the obstacles facing American and Chinese companies and promote a more healthy trade and investment relationship, the USTR website posting said.