The announcement at the completion of the 21st annual meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) on Wednesday highlighted progress on a number of major priorities for manufacturers. (U.S. Trade Representative news release, fact sheet)
A new system of ongoing working group engagement appears to have paid off in commitments on the part of China in areas that the National Association of Manufacturers has long emphasized. In one of the most important issues for U.S. companies, intellectual property (IP) protection, there is potentially significant progress for producers in the wind turbine, pharmaceutical, and software industries. China’s commitment not to discriminate against American IP in deciding what products or companies get preferences for government contracts could have significant impact for NAM members selling in the Chinese market.
In addition, the agreement to revise the major equipment catalogue (which governs what products qualify for special treatment in government purchases) and not to use it to discriminate against imports or provide export subsidies, is similarly a positive signal that China will play by the rules of the international trading system that has benefitted it so significantly.
China also made commitments that could further open their markets to U.S. industrial and telecommunications equipment, and agreed to accelerate the process of joining the WTO Government Procurement Agreement. This agreement has been a priority for the NAM as a way to open the door to billions of dollars in purchases by Chinese government entities.
All of this is good news. But long term, it all hinges on China’s implementation of these commitments.
The new process of continuous engagement is a good mechanism whereby the U.S. government can monitor the actions taken to follow through on these commitments. And we have another shot at making progress on these and other stubborn issues like China’s currency undervaluation when President Hu makes an official visit to Washington early in 2011.
The NAM congratulates Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Locke and their staffs for the achievement of these positive JCCT outcomes. We will continue to work with the Administration to press China to play by the rules and open its market to U.S. products and services.
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