WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman will travel to Beijing, China this weekend to press for solutions on a range of bilateral trade concerns as co-chair of the July 11 meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) with Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and China's Vice Premier, Wu Yi. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will also participate in the JCCT discussions.
"I view the annual JCCT meeting as an opportunity to try to remove trade barriers, further open China's market to U.S. exports, and level the playing field for American workers, farmers and businesses," Ambassador Portman said. "I look forward to working with the Chinese government to address obstacles to U.S. goods and services exports, ensure that American merchandise can be freely distributed in China, further open China's market to U.S. farm products, and improve the transparency of China's trade laws and regulations."
"A top priority for this year's JCCT is strengthening the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights," Portman added. "Under Vice Premier Wu's direction, China has taken steps in the battle against piracy and counterfeiting. But China must do more to significantly reduce infringement levels by increasing criminal prosecutions of IPR crimes, by better protecting U.S. films, music, software and other products on the streets, in the stores and over the Internet, and by helping U.S. small businesses secure and enforce their intellectual property rights in China. We will continue to seek real results on these and other issues, using all available forums and tools."
Following the JCCT meeting, Portman will lead a senior U.S. delegation to Dalian, China for high-level World Trade Organization (WTO) informal meetings. Approximately 30 Trade ministers representing WTO Members will come together to advance negotiations in the Doha Development Agenda. Portman will be joined by Secretary of Agriculture Johanns.
"President Bush’s call to eliminate all trade distorting agricultural subsidies at the G-8 meetings is a bold vision that gives the Doha Round additional momentum. It also demonstrates the U.S. desire to achieve real reform which will assist the developing world. American farmers want to see a level playing field and foreign barriers reduced or eliminated. Doha is the best place to achieve real reforms," Portman said.
The Dalian meeting will include discussions of how to move the Doha talks forward. Ministers will focus on the need to intensify the negotiations in the key market access areas of agriculture, non-agricultural market access and services.
Established in 1983, the JCCT is a government-to-government consultative mechanism that provides a forum to resolve trade concerns and pursue bilateral commercial opportunities. The status of the JCCT was elevated following the December 2003 meeting of President Bush and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to serve as a problem-solving mechanism for higher-level attention on outstanding trade disputes. USTR Rob Portman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez co-chair for the U.S. side. Last year's JCCT achieved concrete results on key U.S. trade concerns, including wireless standards for computers and mobile phones, intellectual property rights enforcement, and market access for U.S. services and agricultural products.
China is one of the world's fastest growing economies, and the rising incomes of its nearly 1.3 billion consumers have fueled strong demand for U.S. farm products, manufactured goods and services. Since China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the Administration has worked aggressively to increase U.S. exports and further open China's market to American goods and services by ensuring that China implements its WTO commitments faithfully and promptly. Since 2001, U.S. exports to China have grown by 81 percent to nearly $35 billion. China is America's third largest trading partner, and our fifth largest export market for goods. The United States enjoyed a $3.9 billion agricultural trade surplus with China in 2004 and a $2.1 billion services surplus in 2003.