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News - Editor, 22 September 2008

Trade Talks Strengthen U.S.-China Trade and Economic Ties



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A host of agreements have been reached between China and the United States during the high-level trade talks held on 16 September at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, southern California. The trade agreements cover crucial aspects of food safety, medicinal ingredients safety, agriculture and cooperation on trade statistics. Additionally, the parties agreed to increased collaboration between working groups in addressing issues of piracy and copyright infringements.

The one day meeting of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), was co-chaired by China’s Vice-Premier and head of Economic and Trade Affairs, Wang Qishan, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. The JCCT is a government-to-government platform to facilitate opening up market opportunities, while also being used to resolve any trade disputes between the two countries.

In his opening speech, Wang acknowledged that the U.S. is the world’s largest developed country and China is the largest developing country in the world. With this in mind, and especially in light of the current turbulence of the global economy, constructive and cooperative economic and trade ties are a high priority for China. Schwab noted that China ranks as the second largest trading partner of the United States and expressed the willingness of Washington to solve bilateral trade and commerce problems, with a view to forging stable, long-term development in trade and economic relations, to the benefit of both countries. Gutierrez confirmed that the United States views the JCCT platform as of great importance in promoting US-China dialogue and cooperation in bilateral trade and economic ties.

China have agreed to hold to a single set of standards on a range of health-care products, while working along with the United States to ensure an end to contaminated pharmaceutical ingredients. This is an important step in light of China’s much publicized problems with regard to safety standards in food, drugs and other consumer products, prompting wide-scale product recalls.

Also present at the session was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Edward Schafer, who made known that China had agreed to lift, with immediate effect, long-standing import bans on poultry from the U.S. states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Nebraska and Pennsylvania. However, China has not agreed to lift the ban on U.S. beef imports that was put in place following a mad-cow disease scare, and talks in this regard will continue between the relevant authorities of both countries.

Although agreements were not reached on all issues raised, many of which will continue to be negotiated, it is generally agreed that the meeting was very productive and has contributed to the strengthening of trade and economic ties between China and the United States.

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