Last week the US Department of Commerce jointly sponsored a Policy Conference to discuss the US-China Commercial Relationship with the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, the Henry Jackson Foundation, and the host of the event, Georgetown University. The event featured a number of panels composed of experts from all fields discussing the state and future of US-China policy. The event was bracketed by welcoming remarks from Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and concluding remarks by General Counsel Cameron Kerry. Kerry also participated on the conference’s final panel in a discussion of the Impact of Developments in China’s Commercial Legal System.
During his remarks, General Counsel Kerry spoke about the work of his office and the Department of Commerce in developing commercial rule of law in China. He said, "With the Rule of law, business can predict and plan their investments, research and development, purchases, and sales with greater certainty. Without it, they are left to guess about the costs and benefits of any deal." He discussed the importance of both the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in fostering a strong bilateral commercial relationship. He described the US-China Legal Exchange, a program designed to foster mutual understanding of the legal regimes governing trade and investment that began in 1983. He also spoke of his role as co-lead of the Transparency Dialogue, which has led to greater transparency in Chinese Government decision-making processes, including the promulgation of rules and regulations and dialogue on transnational bribery. He sees the role of lawyers in both countries as crucial to promoting the rule of law.
After his panel, General Counsel Kerry concluded the conference by addressing the need for a more sustainable, balanced trade with China. He noted that the two nations are inextricably linked to each other’s wellbeing and that China must strive to be as free, fair, and open as the United States. The conference has helped to set the stage for the JCCT, which the US will host in Washington, DC on December 14-15, 2010.
Read General Counsel Kerry's remarks here.