This morning, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk delivered a keynote address on "U.S.-China Trade Relations Today and Tomorrow" at the U.S.-China Business Council's 36th Annual Membership meeting.
Ambassador Kirk discussed the importance of the U.S.-China bilateral trade relationship and the cooperative work of constructing a positive and comprehensive relationship between the U.S. and China.
"The health and growth of our bilateral relationship with China will depend, in part, on this job-creating access to China's markets for U.S. goods, services and investment.
We are committed to working closely with China to fully develop that relationship.
There are two primary ways that the U.S. will pursue this.
Our approach to China will involve both direct diplomacy, and strong enforcement of America's rights in the global trading system.
USTR's preferred instruments are those of engagement with China, through dialogue, ongoing efforts to negotiate a bilateral investment treaty, and coordinated efforts with like-minded trading partners."
He also said that USTR would use all available tools to make sure Americans see the benefit of international trade.
"...We are committed to working positively and cooperatively with China. But we will always put the interests of American businesses and workers at the fore.
We will not yield on enforcing the right of American businesses and exporters to compete on a level playing field with China.
If we can do it by trade diplomacy, we will. If we have to file at the WTO, we'll file. And as appropriate, the U.S. will also apply trade remedies fully and fairly as provided for under WTO rules.
The way that USTR approaches disputes with China will be an important element... and an important example... of this new administration's new focus on enforcement."
Read the full remarks, as prepared for delivery.