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Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to Convene 23rd Session of U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

Monday, December 10, 2012

Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will host Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan for the 23rd session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), December 18-19, in Washington. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will also take part in the discussions to address key agricultural trade concerns.

"This year's JCCT is an opportunity for the United States to continue building a strong foundation for our bilateral trade with China," said Acting Secretary Blank. "These discussions come at an important time and are an opportunity to set the future trajectory of U.S.-China economic relations. Creating a healthy and balanced trade relationship with China is important to the United States, and our goals for these discussions include securing markets for U.S. exports, protecting intellectual property, and eliminating regulatory obstacles in China that obstruct trade. The annual high-level JCCT meeting is the culmination of a year of work, and we look forward to once again engaging with the Chinese on issues of mutual importance to our two countries."

"The JCCT is critical to resolving important trade and investment issues for American stakeholders and to moving our trade relationship with China forward.  This year we're focused on delivering meaningful results on issues including enforcement of intellectual property rights, combating pressures to transfer technology, eliminating trade-distortive industrial policies, and removing key obstacles to our exports," said Ambassador Kirk.

"The JCCT provides an important forum to discuss ways we can reduce trade barriers for American agricultural products and provide greater export opportunities for our farmers, producers, and ranchers,” said Secretary Vilsack. “China remains a valued trading partner and the bilateral relationship will be strengthened through the exchange that will take place at these meetings. Specifically, we plan to address a range of market access issues affecting exports of U.S. meat and poultry products, as well as horticultural products.”

The JCCT holds high-level plenary meetings on an annual basis to review progress made by working groups that focus on a wide variety of trade issues. These working groups meet throughout the year to address topics such as intellectual property rights, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, information technology, tourism, commercial law, environment, and statistics.

Established in 1983, the JCCT is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade issues and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China. The 2011 JCCT meeting was held in Chengdu, China, where China agreed, among other issues, to improve intellectual property enforcement, delink innovation policies to government procurement preferences, and provide a fair and level playing field in China’s Strategic Emerging Industries.

China was the largest supplier of U.S. goods imports in 2011, and the third-largest market for U.S. exports in 2011 (after Canada and Mexico).  U.S. goods exports to China were $104 billion in 2011, up 542 percent since 2000.  Trade in services with China (exports and imports) totaled $38 billion in 2011; services exports were $27 billion and services imports were $11 billion.