World / US and Canada

APEC yielded good results for US and China: US officials

By AMY HE in New York (China Daily USA) Updated: 2014-11-19 11:00

This year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting (APEC) yielded outcomes for China and the US that both countries are "very happy with", according to US officials.

"We worked really well this year with China on APEC. We developed very good relationships working on a lot of these different agenda items, and I think the Chinese really did a very good job in leading the APEC year this year," said Robert Wang, a Foreign Service officer with the US State department and a senior official for APEC, a role he assumed in August 2013.

He made his comments in a media call on Tuesday, discussing President Barack Obama's participation at the APEC meeting in Beijing last week.

Christopher Smart, special assistant to Obama and senior director of international economics and trade for the National Security Council, said that China took the meetings and its host responsibilities "very seriously" this year, wanting to make the opportunity for the country to lay some of its "imprints on the broader economic agenda in Asia".

The meeting that wrapped up on Nov 12 saw the US and China agree to eliminate trade tariffs on high-tech products - expanding on the World Trade Organization Information Technology Agreement (ITA) - which could cut tariffs by up to $1 trillion on about 200 technological products, including items like magnetic resonance imaging machines and GPS devices. Prior to the APEC meeting, talks on eliminating the tariffs had stalled.

"It was APEC's work that led to the Information Technology Agreement, which we are now negotiating to expand," Obama said in Beijing last week. "It is fitting that we are here with our APEC colleagues to share the news that the United States and China have reached an understanding that we hope will contribute to a rapid conclusion of the broader negotiations in Geneva."

Smart said on the call, "We feel like there was an important breakthrough on the Information Technology Agreement, which is a very important part of our trading relationship with China, not just bilaterally but multilaterally with all of the participants signed onto that agreement."

The US and China also reached what many experts called a "substantial" agreement on climate change, with both countries announcing new targets to cap carbon dioxide emissions. China said that it would peak its carbon emissions by 2030, and make efforts to do so even earlier, and the US announced a new target to cut emissions between 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. It was the first time China released a time frame to cap emissions.

The two countries also announced they would extend the validity of business and tourist visas to 10 years from one year. Student visas also were changed from a one-year limitation to five years or the length of the academic program.

Smart said the extended visa agreements also "speak to the broader economic relationship taking shape".

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