Friday February 21, 2020

25th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

December 22, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, together with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, co-chaired the 25th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Chicago, Illinois, on December 16-18, 2014.  They were joined by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.  Other participants included U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus and China’s Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai.

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. High-level plenary meetings are held annually and are co-chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, and the Chinese Vice Premier in charge of trade and investment issues. Sixteen JCCT Working Groups meet throughout the year to address topics such as intellectual property rights, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, information technology, and travel and tourism. The meetings help resolve disputes before they disrupt trade.

For the first time, the JCCT met in Chicago. Hosts chose a location outside of Washington as part of efforts to reimagine and reinvigorate the JCCT. Chicago is home to more than 1,800 foreign companies from 45 countries that employ more than 22,000 people. Chicago has particularly strong ties with an estimated 40 mainland China-owned companies in greater Chicago and 150 Chicago area companies with locations in mainland China. Chicago is America’s leading hub for air exports to China. Illinois companies also exported 5.6 billion dollars in goods and services to China in 2013.

This year was also the first time the JCCT included a full-day private sector engagement with trade officials from both governments. The meeting also included a cooperative investment forum, a discussion on agriculture and food cooperation, an investment luncheon focusing on cooperation between cities of the two nations, a travel and tourism program, and a talk on a shared vision of economic leadership.

The goal of this year’s JCCT was to build upon President Obama’s recent visit to China and meetings with President Xi, where they agreed to deepen our economic ties and enhance our bilateral engagements. The 25th Commission achieved outcomes in the following areas: agricultural biotechnology, technology localization, medical devices and pharmaceuticals market access, intellectual property rights, competition law, government procurement regulations, treatment of intellectual property in standards setting, fisheries, legal services, and cooperative activities.

One of the most significant outcomes was in pharmaceuticals. China agreed to accelerate the studying and reform of the medical device and pharmaceutical regulatory review and approval system, include adding personnel, funds, streamlining relevant mechanisms, and increasing the speed of review. Secretary Pritzker said China’s promises in the medical and pharmaceutical areas “should lead to (an) increase in U.S. exports and U.S. jobs in these two important sectors.”

The meeting also discussed China’s controversial anti-monopoly law. US businesses have expressed concerns that the law has been unfairly applied to foreign companies. China promised to enforce its anti-monopoly laws equally among Chinese and foreign companies and, when possible, allow U.S. legal counsel for American companies to attend meetings in antitrust proceedings.

For their part, the Chinese delegation pressed the U.S. side to allow China to import American deepwater oil and gas exploration equipment. Secretary Pritzker said the U.S. could agree to actively consider issuing export licenses for some items.

Since the first JCCT in 1983, U.S. exports to China have grown by more than 50 times. Today, China is America’s third largest export market. The total bilateral trade relationship is worth $617 billion, making China America’s second largest trade partner.

For more information, please see the following news sources:

Department of CommerceFact Sheet

Department of CommerceRemarks

ABCChina Pledges to Speed Entry of US Pharmaceuticals

China Daily“China, US get things done at trade talks”

Politico“Chi-town opens arms to China”

CCTV“25th annual US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade kicks off”

Compiled and edited by Amanda Conklin