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United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis visited Beijing this week as part of a U.S. delegation to participate in the fourth round of the United States-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). In Beijing, Ambassadors Kirk and Marantis joined S&ED co-chairs Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – along with Commerce Secretary Bryson and other U.S. Government officials – for high-level discussions around several key issues related to the U.S.-China bilateral relationship.
During the S&ED's Economic Track trade and investment discussions, in which USTR plays a leading role, the United States made progress on several priority issues, including stepped up IPR enforcement and increasing sales of legitimate products, prioritizing enforcement against trade secrets theft, giving IP non-discriminatory treatment wherever it is owned or developed, a new comprehensive offer by China in 2012 to join the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, opening new areas to foreign investment, and beginning intensive discussions with China to ensure that market access is, in fact, not tied to technology transfer.
In addition, throughout the talks this week, Ambassadors 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 (WTO) in 2001 – and since then that growth has accelerated to 21.6. As the world's fastest growing major economy, China offers huge opportunities for American businesses, workers, farmers, and ranchers. Therefore, the United States has a strong interest in China's continued economic growth.
However, as Ambassador Kirk has noted, 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 for American workers and businesses is critical to creating new opportunities from our bilateral trade and investment relationship with China.
The U.S.-China relationship has deepened and matured over the last few years. And President Obama has been very clear that we need to work together to balance our trade relationship with China 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.
For more specifics on topics and issues discussed during the S&ED, see the U.S.-China Joint Fact Sheet and the U.S. Fact Sheet, which can be found at www.treasury.gov.