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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and USTR Ron Kirk Convene 20th Session of U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Hangzhou, China

October 21, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will serve as co-chairs with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan of the 20th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) held on Wednesday, October 28th and Thursday, October 29th in Hangzhou, China. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will join this effort to address key U.S. trade and economic priorities. The 2009 JCCT marks the first time three Obama cabinet officials have traveled together to a key economic summit abroad.

The JCCT, established in 1983, is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade matters and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China.

"The first JCCT under the Obama Administration provides an important opportunity to engage China on trade concerns impacting American companies," Secretary Locke said. "It is critical that we make progress on several priority issues, including intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, clean energy, medical devices and pharmaceuticals."

"China is America's second largest trading partner and is a fast growing market for American exporters," said Ambassador Kirk. "As we convene the 20th session of the JCCT, the Obama Administration recognizes that as we look to the next 20 years of our relationship with China, our successful engagement must include strong and smart U.S. trade policy. The JCCT gives the United States and China a venue to consider the breadth of our trade relationship and identify steps that each side can take to ensure that it is fair, sustainable, and mutually beneficial going forward."

"With two-way trade between the United States and China in agricultural, fish and forest products exceeding $21 billion in 2008, American farmers and ranchers recognize the benefits of our economic engagement with China, but they also rightly seek great equity and balance in our trade relationship," said Secretary Vilsack. "The JCCT is an opportunity to work with China to address the wide range of trade and economic issues that affect the lives of U.S. agricultural producers and consumers."

During the 2009 JCCT in Hangzhou, American and Chinese officials will participate in a high-level annual plenary meeting as well as and review progress made by a large number of working groups convened throughout the year to bring U.S. and Chinese officials together to engage in detailed discussions of specific trade issues. Examples of these groups include the IPR Working Group, the Insurance Dialogue, and the Information Industry Working Group.
China was the second largest supplier of U.S. good imports in 2008 (after Canada) and was the third largest market for U.S. exports in 2008 (after Canada and Mexico). U.S. goods exports to China were $70 billion in 2008, up 330% since 2000. Trade in services with China (exports and imports) totaled $23.0 billion in 2007 (latest data available); services exports were $14.2 billion and services imports were $8.8 billion.