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US-China Trade Talks Progress

by 5m Editor
22 November 2011, at 9:30am

CHINA - USDA and China's Ministry of Agriculture are putting the finishing touches to the framework of a five-year strategic plan focused on food security, food safety and sustainable agriculture to build a stronger foundation for critical cooperation in agriculture, following the conclusion of the 22nd session of the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Chengdu, China, this week.

In discussions also including the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, progress was made on beef market access, according to the US delegation.

The parties agreed to expand discussion beyond technical to the conditions that include scope of products available in the market. China also committed to make progress on removing avian influenza-related bans affecting several US states, to finalise work on a longstanding market access request for US pears and to complete work on a new dairy certificate to maintain existing market access.

US Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk co-chaired the JCCT along with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan. US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also participated in the discussions.

"China is one of the most important agricultural trade partners for the United States and the meetings and discussions in recent days have helped to strengthen this partnership and build greater export opportunities for our farmers, ranchers and growers," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.

"We intend to continue these discussions in the months ahead on beef and other agricultural products to break down additional trade barriers so Chinese consumers can benefit from the high quality products that are produced in America."

Secretary Bryson, Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Vilsack announced meaningful progress on key elements of the US-China trade relationship but also underscored that much more work remains to be done to open China's market to US exports and investment.

"The JCCT gives us a mechanism to address the toughest issues in our trade relationship, and we must judge it by our ability to make concrete progress," Ambassador Kirk said.

"We have reached agreement on a number of important outcomes, though we had hoped to accomplish even more. In our discussions with our Chinese counterparts, we spoke frankly about the need to redouble our efforts going forward."

"Both sides worked hard to produce some meaningful progress that will help provide a needed boost to US exports and jobs," Secretary Bryson said.

"This is a step in the right direction. But we must continue to actively engage our Chinese counterparts to open additional opportunities for US businesses."