The United States on Friday said progress had been made on several trade fronts in talks with China, welcoming Beijing’s promise to make a fresh attempt to join a global government procurement deal.
“There was a commitment to provide a revised offer in 2014 to join the World Trade Organization government procurement agreement,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters at the conclusion of the 24th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.
“This offer would be commensurate on the whole with the other GPA members, promising significant opportunities for US companies,” Froman added.
The US and the European Union have pressed for China, the world’s second-largest economy, further increase market access in a range of areas, including government procurement.
Froman said China promised when it joined the WTO to accede to the GPA deal. He added that while there have been negotiations in recent years, Beijing has so far been unable to make a pledge “commensurate with the offers and the openness of other government procurement agreement adherents”.
Besides Froman, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack represented the US side in talks with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and other officials.
Beijing also agreed to enhance the protection and enforcement of trade secrets, remove regulatory hurdles in China’s product testing rules and confirmed that a draft technology localisation policy affecting foreign vehicles would not be implemented, Froman said.
“We also had constructive discussions on services and investment liberalisation that will benefit foreign companies as new markets are opened, and on opening China’s market to high quality us beef exports,” he said.
“These are all an important step forward,” Froman said of the progress cited, adding, however, that “we have more work to do”.
Froman also called the talks “useful” in that they provided a chance for the two sides to have “broad” discussions, including the results of a Major Chinese Communist Party meeting last month that pledged further market and social reforms.
Source : Channel News Asia | December 21, 2013