Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will host Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan for the 23rd session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, December 18-19, in Washington. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will also take part in the discussions to address key agricultural trade concerns.
"This year's JCCT is an opportunity for the United States to continue building a strong foundation for our bilateral trade with China," said Acting Secretary Blank. "These discussions come at an important time and are an opportunity to set the future trajectory of U.S.-China economic relations. Our goals for these discussions include securing markets for U.S. exports, protecting intellectual property, and eliminating regulatory obstacles in China that obstruct trade."
The JCCT holds high-level plenary meetings on an annual basis to review progress made by working groups that focus on a wide variety of trade issues. These working groups meet throughout the year to address topics such as intellectual property rights, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, information technology, tourism, commercial law, environment, and statistics.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the JCCT provides an important forum to discuss ways trade barriers for American agricultural products can be reduced and how to provide greater export opportunities for farmers, producers, and ranchers.
"China remains a valued trading partner and the bilateral relationship will be strengthened through the exchange that will take place at these meetings. Specifically, we plan to address a range of market access issues affecting exports of U.S. meat and poultry products, as well as horticultural products," Vilsack said.
Established in 1983, the JCCT is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade issues and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China. The 2011 JCCT meeting was held in Chengdu, China, where China agreed, among other issues, to improve intellectual property enforcement, delink innovation policies to government procurement preferences, and provide a fair and level playing field in China's Strategic Emerging Industries.
China was the largest supplier of U.S. goods imports in 2011, and the third-largest market for U.S. exports in 2011 (after Canada and Mexico). U.S. goods exports to China were $104 billion in 2011, up 542 percent since 2000. Trade in services with China (exports and imports) totaled $38 billion in 2011; services exports were $27 billion and services imports were $11 billion.