WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman unveiled the results of a top-to-bottom review of U.S.-China Trade Policy at a news conference.
The report, U.S. - China Trade Relations: Entering a New Phase of Greater Accountability and Enforcement, is the first comprehensive statement of U.S. trade policy towards China since it joined the WTO in 2001.
The report was provided to Congress this morning with a cover letter from Ambassador Portman to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees. In this letter, he outlined his objective of closer collaboration with Congress on U.S.-China trade policy.
"Despite three consecutive years of growing U.S. exports to China, our bilateral trade relationship with China today lacks equity, durability and balance in the opportunities it provides," said Ambassador Portman. "The time has come to readjust our trade policy with respect to China."
"As a mature trading partner, China should be held accountable for its actions and required to live up to its responsibilities, including opening markets and enforcing intellectual property rights," Portman said. "We will use all options available to meet this challenge."
The Top-to-Bottom review assesses the benefits and challenges in U.S-China trade following China’s first four years of membership in the World Trade Organization, as China nears the end of its transition period as a new member. The review reflects the input of Congress, China experts, industry, public testimony and other U.S. government agencies.
The report announces the following actions that will be implemented in consultation with Congress and other stakeholders to ensure meaningful progress in achieving the key objectives outlined in the report:
• Expanding USTR trade enforcement capacity to better ensure China’s compliance with trade obligations, including through establishment of a China Enforcement Task Force at USTR, to be headed by a Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement;
• Expanding USTR capability to obtain and apply comprehensive, forward-looking information regarding China’s trade regime and practices to U.S. trade policy formulation and implementation, by: (1) adding personnel to USTR’s China office to coordinate collection and integration of information on current and potential China trade issues from other U.S. government agencies and other sources; and (2) establishing an Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiation (ACTPN) China Task Force to provide strategic advice and recommendations related to U.S.-China trade policy;
• Expanding U.S. trade policy and negotiating capacity in Beijing and other resources in China to more effectively pursue top priority issues, especially the protection of intellectual property rights;
• Increasing coordination with other trading partners on China trade issues of common interest, such as enforcement of intellectual property rights;
• Deepening and strengthening trade relations with other Asian economies, and within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, to maintain and enhance U.S. commercial relationships in the region;
• Increasing the focus on regulatory reform in China, including through initiating a high-level dialogue on steel with China under the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), deepening and expanding the State Department’s high-level dialogue with China’s economic planners regarding structural reform, launching an initiative to evaluate, assess and engage on China’s subsidies issues, expanding initiatives led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve China’s transparency and compliance with its sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) obligations under the WTO, and focusing intensive interagency efforts to address China’s development of standards and of an anti-monopoly law;
• Increasing effectiveness of high-level meetings with China’s leaders, including through holding annual, elevated meetings of the JCCT prior to presidential-level meetings where possible and conducting mid-year reviews of goals and progress under the JCCT at the Vice Minister/Deputy level;
• Strengthening and expanding US-China dialogue on numerous other specific issues of significance to the global trading system and on bilateral trade issues that pose potential problems for the relationship, including, e.g., China’s participation in global institutions; market access and standards issues related to telecommunications, financial services, healthcare and direct sales; subsidies and structural issues, especially in the steel industry; standards; labor; environmental protection; and transparency and the rule of law;
• Strengthening U.S. government interagency coordination, including through monthly review, by the Trade Policy Review Group and Trade Policy Staff Committee, of strategies and progress made in achieving the key objectives identified in this report; and
• Strengthening the Executive-Congressional partnership on China trade, through initiation by USTR of a program of regular briefings for Congressional members and staff, to update them on progress in pursuing the objectives outlined in this report and to ensure that the Administration’s China trade policy is informed by Congressional priorities.