SOURCE: The US-China Business Council

The US-China Business Council

October 29, 2009 15:22 ET

Leading Business Group Sees Progress at US-China Commercial Meeting

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - October 29, 2009) - The United States and China resolved a variety of specific commercial issues today and announced a policy dialogue that could begin to address the competitive concerns of US industry, according to a leading US business organization, the US-China Business Council (USCBC).

"We are pleased that there was movement on some of the key concerns raised by companies," USCBC President John Frisbie said. "It is important to show progress in the trade relationship in the lead up to President Obama's trip to China next month."

The United States and China met yesterday and today in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, for the annual Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). Established in 1983 as a high-level discussion of commercial issues, the JCCT has become the primary forum for addressing trade irritants in the US-China trading relationship.

At this year's meeting, China committed to issuing rules to clarify that foreign companies operating in China are eligible to participate in China's government procurement programs, building on a commitment made at July's US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) meeting.

"Depending on how it is implemented, this commitment could have very positive results for a wide number of American companies seeking sales in the China market. This has been a top priority issue for the US-China Business Council this year and we are pleased to see the two governments working on a solution," Frisbie said.

In addition, agreements were reached to further trade in clean energy, reopen the China market for US pork exports, and establish a dialogue on China's industrial policies.

Frisbie expressed support for expanding the JCCT beyond the specific issue negotiations to include policy issues.

"I am very interested in the plan to expand future JCCT discussions to tackle broader industrial policies and level the playing field for US companies and workers," he said. "The JCCT needs to evolve with the growing relationship, and this is a step in the right direction."

USCBC had called on the Obama administration to use the JCCT to continue negotiations on specific issues but add a new component to tackle the policy issues not covered under the S&ED.

"The S&ED has a high-level economic focus and does not have the bandwidth to address all of the commercial policy issues affecting American companies that do business with or compete with Chinese companies," continued Frisbie. "The JCCT can fill this void, in close coordination with the S&ED -- that could be a very effective combination."

Though the JCCT was successful on several important issues, many others remain unresolved. Frisbie urged China to view the JCCT as an opportunity to make more significant advances in the trade relationship.

"China rightly expresses concern about protectionism in the trade relationship, yet sees the JCCT as a forum to resolve a limited number of specific issues. I'd like to see China take a more open approach to the JCCT as a vehicle that can change the dynamic of US-China commercial relations," Frisbie concluded.

The USCBC ( is the leading organization of US companies engaged in business with the People's Republic of China. Founded in 1973, the USCBC provides extensive China-focused information, advisory, and advocacy services, along with events, to roughly 220 US corporations operating within the United States and throughout Asia.