Trade talks wrap up in Wash­ing­ton

Fi­nal JCCT of Obama administration tack­les host of sub­jects, looks ahead with op­ti­mism

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

China and the United states reached mul­ti­ple con­sen­suses and reaped pos­i­tive re­sults in their last high-level eco­nomic di­a­logue of the Obama administration.

The 27th China-US Joint Com­mis­sion on Com­merce and Trade (JCCT) con­cluded in Wash­ing­ton on Wed­nes­day hav­ing delved into such sub­jects as ex­port con­trol, trade rem­edy, in­spec­tion and quar­an­tine of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, civil avi­a­tion ser­vices, Chi­nese in­vest­ment in the US, agri­cul­tural biotech­nol­ogy, in­no­va­tion pol­icy, ex­cess ca­pac­ity, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and med­i­cal de­vices and in­te­grated cir­cuit.

At the open­ing cer­e­mony on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Vice-Premier Wang Yang praised the JCCT’s role over the years in man­ag­ing dif­fer­ences and en­sur­ing a sta­ble de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions.

“No mat­ter how the lead­er­ship changes in the US, the shared in­ter­ests of our coun­tries far out­weigh our dif­fer­ences,” Zhang Xiangcheng, China’s deputy in­ter­na­tional trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive, told a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon af­ter the con­clu­sion of the JCCT at the An­drew Mel­lon Au­di­to­rium.

He said the two coun­tries en­joyed a high de­gree of com­ple­men­tar­ity in their eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, which has brought prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits to their busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties and their two peo­ples. “These facts are not changed,” he said.

China-US trade has grown ex­po­nen­tially in the last 37 years since the two coun­tries es­tab­lished diplo­matic ties. In 2015, two-way goods trade reached $558.4 bil­lion and two-way in­vest­ment stock ex­ceeded $160 bil­lion.

China is the largest trade part­ner for the US, the third largest ex­port mar­ket and the top source of im­ports. The US is China’s se­cond-largest trade part­ner, the top ex­port mar­ket and the No 4 ma­jor source of im­ports.

Zhang noted it’s nor­mal for the two coun­tries to have dif­fer­ences as their in­ter­ests be­come ever more in­ter­twined. “What’s im­por­tant is that we need to take a co­op­er­a­tive ap­proach to ad­dress our dif­fer­ences,” he said.

He sug­gested that for prob­lems that can­not be solved at the mo­ment, both sides should adopt

The shared in­ter­ests of our coun­tries far out­weigh our dif­fer­ences.” Vice-Premier Wang Yang

a con­struc­tive ap­proach to man­ag­ing them in or­der to avoid mis­un­der­stand­ing, mis­cal­cu­la­tion and es­ca­la­tion.

US Com­merce Sec­re­tary Penny Pritzker and US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Fro­man also praised the role the JCCT mech­a­nism has played.

Pritzker said as the two largest economies and the two largest mar­kets in the world, con­struc­tive en­gage­ment and sus­tained diplo­macy be­tween the US and China are crit­i­cal to mak­ing progress on the is­sues that re­main in the re­la­tion­ship.

“Although this is our last time serv­ing as co-chairs, I want to em­pha­size that this di­a­logue has been and will re­main the es­sen­tial fo­rum for pro­mot­ing more com­merce, for deep­en­ing trust and for ad­dress­ing real busi­ness chal­lenges,” she said in her clos­ing re­marks.

Wang chaired the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion to the JCCT while Pritzker and Fro­man led the US team. On Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, the three wit­nessed the sign­ing of two mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing — one in sup­port of the es­tab­lish­ment of an Africa cen­ters for dis­ease con­trol and pre­ven­tion, the other on the se­lect re­verse trade mis­sion.

The US has promised to wel­come Chi­nese in­vest­ment in the US and pro­vide the Chi­nese in­vest­ment equal and fair treat­ment with in­vest­ment from other places, ac­cord­ing to Zhang.

He de­scribed the ne­go­ti­a­tions of a Bi­lat­eral In­vest­ment Treaty (BIT) as mak­ing pos­i­tive progress, say­ing a high-stan­dard BIT is good for China’s re­form and open­ing-up and the in­ter­ests of both na­tions.

“We are will­ing to push for a con­clu­sion of the BIT as soon as pos­si­ble,” he said.

On China’s keen con­cern about recog­ni­tion of its mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus, Pritzker said that the time was “not ripe” for the US to change the way it eval­u­ates whether China has achieved mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus and there are no in­ter­na­tional trade rules re­quir­ing changes in how US anti-dump­ing du­ties are cal­cu­lated.

She said the de­ter­mi­na­tion will be made strictly ac­cord­ing to six cri­te­ria set in US law, adding that the US and Chi­nese sides have en­gaged in con­ver­sa­tions on the sub­ject.

China be­lieves that based on the pro­to­col of its WTO ac­ces­sion in 2001, it should au­to­mat­i­cally tran­sit to mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus upon the 15th an­niver­sary of its ac­ces­sion, which is next month. Be­ing rec­og­nized as a mar­ket econ­omy would pre­vent coun­tries such as the US from im­pos­ing un­fair and ran­dom an­tidump­ing du­ties on Chi­nese ex­ports.

Launched in 1983, the JCCT is one of the ear­li­est high-level trade di­a­logue mech­a­nisms be­tween the two govern­ments.

In the past three days, the two sides also held a busi­ness lead­ers’ round­table, a talk on dig­i­tal trade, a fo­rum on food safety and a busi­ness lun­cheon, with the at­ten­dance of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from gov­ern­ment, busi­ness and academia of both na­tions.

CHEN WEIHUA / CHINA DAILY

Premier WangYang (stand­ing left), US Sec­re­tary of Com­merce Penny Pritzker (cen­ter) and US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Fro­man wit­ness the sign­ing of a Chi­naUS mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing on se­lect re­serve trade mis­sions on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon in Wash­ing­ton.

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