U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said Tuesday in Beijing that the United States benefited greatly from China's rapid economic progress due to its embrace of market-oriented reform and entry into the rules-based international trading system.
Addressing an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce, Schwab said the impact of China's decision to embrace market-oriented reform and join the rules-based international trading system was "nothing short of breathtaking".
Over the past 20 years, China's economy had grown by nearly 10 percent a year and experienced a total growth in real gross domestic product of over 500 percent, she said.
Importantly, the people of China had benefited greatly from its engagement with the rest of the world, with an estimated 377 million people lifted out of poverty.
"We are now, ourselves, major beneficiaries of China's rapid development. U.S. manufacturers, farmers and service providers have seen U.S. exports to China grow an average of 22 percent a year since China joined the WTO (World Trade Organization) in December of 2001, and U.S. consumers enjoy access to a wide array of high-quality, competitively priced products," said Schwab.
Schwab said few trade relationships were more important than that between the U.S. and China.
"And while we have issues that divide us in our bilateral trade relations, we still have fundamental interests in common," she said.
She also talked about the progress the United States and China had made in resolving trading disputes and issues through "quiet" conversations.
Citing an example, she said China agreed in April to reopen its market to U.S. beef, and also to eliminate duplicate testing and certification requirements for imported medical equipment, and to improve market access for telecommunications service providers.
In addition, China announced that its computer manufacturers would be required to install legal operating system software on all computers before they left the factory, and committed to close optical disc plants that produced pirated CDs and DVDs.
"These are important steps on the road to addressing a very tough IPR situation, and every step that brings tangible results counts," she said.
"These and other initiatives show that as major trading partners in a mature relationship, the U.S. and China can work together to resolve concerns and improve commercial ties."