US, China Make Progress on Trade

Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 6:25 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. trade officials say progress has been made on key elements of the U.S.-China trade relationship, but that more work must be done to open China’s market to U.S. exports and investment.

The two sides concluded trade talks Tuesday in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, with China pledging to crack down on intellectual property infringement and agreeing to work on easing several food-import bans.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said China is one of the United States’ most important agricultural trade partners, and that the meetings have helped strengthen that relationship. But he said the U.S. will continue to push to address additional trade barriers with China.

The U.S.-Chinese Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade meets twice a year to resolve policy disputes and ease trade tensions.

China has also confirmed it will not require foreign automakers to establish Chinese brands or provide technology to Chinese companies in order to sell cars in the country.

The automakers will be allowed to participate in incentive programs for electric vehicles.

China and the United States signed agreements related to tourism and high-technology trade, and agreed to work together on energy issues and the promotion of U.S. exports.

The trade talks come amid mounting demands by some American lawmakers for punitive tariffs on Chinese goods if Beijing fails to ease controls that keep its currency undervalued and gives its exporters an unfair trade advantage.

U.S. officials have long accused China of keeping its currency artificially low, a policy that helped send the U.S. trade deficit with China to more than $270 billion in 2010.