China, US reach deals on a variety of trade issues
China and the United States reached agreements on a number of contentious trade issues Wednesday during a meeting of the China-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and unveiled at a joint news conference with U.S. and Chinese officials.
China pledged to take steps ranging from cracking down on copyright piracy, such as movies and computer programs, to opening up the country's goods distribution system to foreign firms.
Another set of agreements dealt with promises China made to ensure its adoption of new standards for wireless computer and mobile phone transmissions will be fair to U.S. companies.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick represented the United States. The 70-member Chinese delegation was led by Vice Premier Wu Yi.
"This is a landmark day and a very fruitful day in terms of the developing relationship between the United States and China," Evans said at a signing ceremony at the Commerce Department.
Administration officials had no estimate of how much impact the new trade deals would have on exports of U.S. manufactured goods to China.
The Chinese presented the United States with an action plan detailing steps it intended to take to crack down on what U.S. industry alleged is the rampant piracy and counterfeiting of American products. The plan included stiffer criminal penalties and promised nationwide enforcement actions.
China also pledged to accelerate the openning up of the distribution system by allowing U.S. companies to distribute their own products to Chinese stores without having to go through a state-owned distribution company.
For its part, the U.S. administration agreed to reconsiderate certain high-technology products that American companies are banned from exporting to China.
In the discussion on agricultural issues, China refused to lift its current bans on imports of American beef and American poultry imposed because of recent health concerns. However, it did lift a ban it had imposed in January on the importation of certain American cosmetics after receiving documentation that showed the products did not contain any animal-related ingredients prohibited in China.
Veneman expressed confidence that the beef and poultry bans would soon be fully lifted, and she predicted American farmers would continue to benefit from the removal of trade barriers since China entered the WTO in late 2001, a time period in which U.S. farm exports to China have tripled.
Bush, Wu hold talks
US President George W. Bush met with visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi at the White House on Wednesday and reiterated that the United States sticks to the one-China policy.
Bush told Wu that there is no change in the position he stated about the Taiwan issue when he met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabaoin the Oval Office of the White House on Dec. 9 last year.
"We oppose any unilateral decision by either China or Taiwan to change the status quo, and the comments and actions made by the leader of Taiwan indicate that he may be willing to make decisions unilaterally to change the status quo, which we oppose," Bush said at a joint appearance with Wen at that time.
In his meeting with Vice-Premier Wu, President Bush also said he was pleased with the positive outcome of the 15th session of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.
Bush said the US side fully recognizes the importance of economic and trade cooperation to the relationship between the two countries, and hopes to further expand trade with China and bring more benefits to the two peoples through continuous development of bilateral economic and trade relations.
Wu said the Chinese side was pleased with the progress made in Sino-US relations in recent years. She urged the US side to exercise prudence in handling the Taiwan issue and abide by its commitments in the three joint communiques to ensure steady progress in the Sino-US relationship.