U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, together with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, co-chaired the 24th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Beijing, China on December 19th – 20th, 2013. They were joined by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to address agricultural concerns. Other participants included U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, U.S. Trade and Development Agency Director Leocadia Zak, and representatives from the State and Treasury Departments.
The following outcomes were achieved.
China will accelerate its negotiation on accession to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and submit a revised offer in 2014 that is on the whole commensurate with the coverage of GPA parties.
Intellectual Property Rights and Localization of IPR and Technology
Trade Secret Protection and Enforcement
As a priority item in its 2014 Action Plan, China’s National Leading Group on Combating IPR Infringement and the Manufacture and Sales of Counterfeit and Substandard Goods commits to adopt and publish an Action Program on trade secrets protection and enforcement that is expected to include:
- Concrete enforcement actions;
- Improvements of public awareness about the importance of not infringing trade secrets and the penalties for infringement; and
- Requirements for strict compliance with all laws, regulations, rules and other measures on trade secrets protection and enforcement by all enterprises and individuals.
China will welcome U.S. suggestions for actions to be taken to implement the Leading Group’s Action Program, and will provide the United States with updates as it implements the plan.
The United States and China commit to cooperate in 2014 on proposals to amend the trade secret law and on related legislative and policy issues. China shall give serious consideration to U.S. legislative reform proposals.
Data Disclosure Requirements for Pharmaceutical Patents
China re-affirms that the Chinese Patent Guidelines permit patent applicants to file additional data after filing their patent applications, and that the Guidelines are subject to Article 84 of the Law on Legislation to ensure that pharmaceutical inventions receive patent protection. China affirms that this interpretation is currently in effect for patent examinations, re-examinations, and representations before the Courts. Relevant Chinese and U.S. agencies will continue to engage on specific cases.
The United States and China reaffirm their commitment to foster a better IP protection environment by combating IPR infringement and counterfeit goods, with the result of facilitating the sales of legitimate IP-intensive goods and services. The United States and China recognize the importance of this issue and will conduct further discussions in 2014, including exchanges of relevant information, on detailed approaches towards this goal.
Official Use Vehicles
China commits not to finalize or implement the 2012 Draft Party and Government Organ Official Use Vehicle Selection Catalogue or the 2011 Detailed Rules on the Administration of Optional Official Vehicle Catalogue for Party and Government Organs, which would have effectively excluded vehicles produced by foreign and foreign-invested enterprises from important procurement opportunities.
Procedural Improvements to Enhance Civil IP Enforcement
The United States and China commit to discuss and work towards improvements to their respective civil IP enforcement systems including through the JCCT IPR Working Group. The United States will raise issues including enhancements to the civil IP enforcement system, such as access to courts, improving discovery methods, enhancing evidence and asset preservation, and maintaining an accessible collection of decisions in IP cases.
Graphical User Interfaces
China has stepped up its efforts to advance innovation in the fast growing information and communications technologies sector by publishing draft Guidelines for public comment to extend design-patent protection to graphical user interfaces.
ZUC Encryption Algorithm
China commits that in MIIT’s testing and network access license approval processes for 4G devices, it will not require applicants to divulge source code or other sensitive business information in order to comply with ZUC provisions in the application process.
CCC Mark Testing and Certification
Building on commitments made at the 23rd JCCT, China reaffirms that for future designation of CCC testing and certification organizations, China’s review of applications from foreign-invested entities registered in China will use the same conditions as are applicable to Chinese domestic entities. The specific implementation of this commitment will take place by Spring 2014.
Market Access for U.S. Beef
Both sides will strive for the resumption of U.S. beef access by July 2014 on the basis of mutually agreed conditions. Both sides will strive for effective solutions to common concerns regarding U.S. beef trade and promote U.S. beef exports to China.
Travel and Tourism Memorandum of Understanding
China and the United States agreed to expand the Memorandum of Understanding opening the market for the sale of packaged group leisure travel from China to the United States to include Gansu and Qinghai provinces.
U.S.-China IP Cooperation and Technical Assistance
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce under the U.S.-China IP Cooperation Framework Agreement (CFA) to provide a program of technical assistance to Chinese intellectual property agencies, courts and the legislature on strengthening the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, and on adopting and maintaining innovation policies that are non-discriminatory and pro-competitive. The program consists of four workshops and one two to three week U.S.-based training program, which complement three other workshops and two U.S. study visits of two to three weeks that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will also be supporting under the CFA.
In Spring 2014, the United States and China will continue their joint exchange on administrative licensing rules to further enhance mutual understanding of the two sides’ administrative licensing procedures and their impact on the business community. These discussions will include the U.S. and Chinese business communities and discuss administrative licensing including the challenges of administrative licensing decisions in both countries.
U.S.-China Legal Exchange
The U.S. Department of Commerce and China’s Ministry of Commerce successfully led the 2013 U.S.-China Legal Exchange, during which Chinese government representatives informed members of the U.S. business, legal, and academic communities in Boston, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, and Orange County, California, of recent developments in specific areas of Chinese commercial law. To promote greater U.S.-China trade, the Chinese representatives described developments in the Chinese legal regimes governing entrepreneurship, and energy conservation and renewable energy. Both sides agreed to convene the 2014 Legal Exchange in China, and to work together promptly to agree on the topics of the exchange and the cities in China where it will take place.
Enforcement Against Counterfeit Semiconductors
The United States and China agree to continue dialogue on increasing enforcement against counterfeit and substandard semiconductors and enhancing interagency coordination to combat counterfeit and substandard semiconductors. The United States and China also agree to increase cooperation on cross-border investigations relating to counterfeit and sub-standard semiconductors case investigations.
Trademark – Bad Faith Trademark Registrations
The United States and China agree to continue communications and exchanges on the issue of bad faith trademark registrations through existing bilateral and plurilateral channels.