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U.S. and Chinese delegations conclude the 26th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

November 24, 2015

Agreement reached in several areas of importance to U.S. farmers, innovators, manufacturers and workers

Guangzhou, China – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today led a U.S. delegation in discussions with Vice Premier Wang Yang and other Chinese government officials as part of the 26th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Guangzhou, China. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus also participated in this year’s JCCT. At the conclusion of the discussions, the United States announced key outcomes in the areas of intellectual property rights and enforcement, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, competition policy, and technology policy.

Specific outcomes of today’s meetings are described below. For further information on outcomes from the meetings, click here.

In 2014, Secretary Pritzker, Ambassador Froman, and Vice Premier Wang “re-imagined” the JCCT in recognition of the dramatically increased size and scope of the U.S.-China commercial relationship. Following significant economic reforms in China, as well as the five-fold growth in our bilateral trade, the reimagined JCCT is an effort to construct a dialogue that better reflects the scale, dynamism, challenges, and opportunities of the modern economic relationship between our countries.

In addition to government-to-government meetings, this reinvigorated forum included a full day of collaborative programing designed to facilitate private sector engagement with officials from the United States and China, as well as to promote the exchange of information on trade opportunities at the state, provincial, and local level.

This year’s private sector engagements included a roundtable discussion on corporate governance and transparency featuring U.S. and Chinese government officials and CEOs from U.S. and Chinese companies; a networking event and luncheon recognizing the importance of bilateral cooperation at the local level hosted by the Guangdong provincial government; a program highlighting mutually beneficial health and healthcare public-private partnerships supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in China, and hosted by several Chinese government agencies; and a U.S. and Chinese stakeholder discussion regarding recent progress made toward safer and more reliable food chains.

“A close and productive U.S.-China commercial relationship, based on responsible partnership, is essential to the growth and stability of the global economy. Together, our countries account for nearly 35 percent of global GDP. Our combined trade in goods and services add up to about one-fifth of all international trade,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “That is one reason why high-level engagements like the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) are so important. Working to create the conditions that enable more trade and investment between our countries requires us to address issues that inhibit commerce between our two countries, but also explore areas of commercial opportunity. Through our ‘reimagined JCCT,’ we have designed a dialogue that is reflective of the scale, dynamism, challenges, and opportunities of the modern economic relationship between our two countries, and we have invited our respective private sectors to become partners in our discussions. I am pleased that we have achieved meaningful outcomes on this year’s issues like trade secrets, pharmaceuticals and medical device market access, competition policy, and the launch of a Steel Dialogue, and I look forward to continued engagement with our Chinese partners.”

“We seek concrete results through the annual JCCT process, and this year’s JCCT produced meaningful progress on some key issues facing a range of U.S. stakeholders. We obtained firm commitments from China in the areas of competition law, intellectual property protection, standards setting, and environmental conservation that will level the playing field for our companies in China. Significantly, in the area of technology policy, we concluded a year of intensive engagement around proposed measures in the banking sector, by confirming that banks in China are free to resume purchasing information and communication technology (ICT) products of their choosing. While more needs to be done, we achieved significant outcomes that will benefit and help level the playing field for American businesses in China and promote the growth of China’s own innovation economy,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “China is our largest export market outside North America, and it continues to be one of the most important drivers of economic growth in the world despite a recent slowing in its rapid expansion. The benefits of these market-opening outcomes will be felt throughout our country in industries that support well-paying jobs.”

“I believe the leaders of our respective countries recognize and embrace the role of agricultural technologies in building a more sustainable, food secure world, and we understand that our collaboration on these matters helps to ensure the smooth flow of trade for our countries and all others. This JCCT offered an opportunity for China and the United States to reaffirm the outcomes reached in September at the Strategic Agricultural Innovation Dialogue, and I am hopeful that China will continue to move forward with much-needed reforms to develop a regulatory system that is science- and rules-based, transparent and predictable,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “With that in mind, the Government of China indicated today it would move quickly to review the 11 agricultural biotechnology events pending approval, and continue our dialogue on access for U.S. beef. My hope is that over the next 30 to 60 days, these words are met with consistent action. We are committed to making serious and sustained progress on these issues and more as our relationship continues to grow. The JCCT holds high-level plenary meetings on an annual basis to review progress made by 16 working groups that meet throughout the year to focus on a wide variety of trade and investment issues. These working groups address topics such as intellectual property rights, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, information technology, tourism, commercial law, environment, trade remedies, and statistics.”

Established in 1983, the JCCT is the primary forum for addressing bilateral trade and investment issues and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China. The 2014 JCCT meeting was held in Chicago.

Overview of JCCT Outcomes

Through sustained engagement during the course of this past year, the United States and China have reached agreement in several areas of key importance to U.S. farmers, innovators, manufacturers, workers and consumers, including in the following areas:

IPR Protection and Enforcement: China agreed to a number of IPR-related commitments that will facilitate much needed improvements in a wide range of industries that rely on the ability to protect and enforce their IPR in China. Building on several prior commitments, China clarified several ongoing and intended efforts to revise China’s trade secrets system and provide more effective aspects of its civil judicial system to deter and respond to the misappropriation of trade secrets. In addition, in recognition of several recent developments to address challenges faced by online counterfeiting, China agreed to participate in a government-industry dialogue to enhance the systems available to address these challenges and to increase information sharing and cooperation on cross-border enforcement between our two countries. The United States also secured China’s commitment to a transparent and expeditious process for developing Geographical Indication-related measures that will help keep this significant market open to U.S. agricultural and other products.

Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices: The United States and China achieved concrete outcomes on implementing mutually agreed goals of eliminating drug and medical device application backlogs and improving the time it takes to make these products available to Chinese patients. These steps include publishing annual performance reports, further expansion of clinical trial exemptions for medical devices, enhancing pre-submission consultation opportunities for medical device applicants, and ensuring relevant reform measures are published transparently. China also agreed that imported medical devices will be treated the same as domestically produced medical devices. These outcomes on pharmaceuticals and medical devices pave the way for significant increases in U.S. exports in healthcare, a key sector for future growth in China as its population ages and its economy matures.

Competition Policy: The United States and China made meaningful progress in China’s enforcement of its Anti-Monopoly Law (AML). China agreed that commercial secrets obtained in the process of AML enforcement are protected under the law, and shall not generally be disclosed to other agencies. China also attached great importance to maintaining coherence in the rules related to IPR in the context of AML. China also clarified that in the process of creating guidance in relation to IPR in the context of antimonopoly law, it will solicit comments from relevant parties, including the public.

Technology Policy: China committed to nondiscriminatory and transparent policies for ICT information security, including assurances that Chinese banks are free to purchase ICT products regardless of the country of origin, affirmations that encryption regulations are narrow in scope, and agreement to notify the WTO of a concerning draft insurance “secure and controllable” regulation for review by WTO members.