US to ease high-tech exports to China

13:13, May 12, 2011      

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China and the US announced a number of breakthroughs Tuesday in trade and economic cooperation at their third Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), but failed to make major progress on broader issues.

At a joint press conference after concluding the talks, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said US officials had pledged to relax restrictions on exporting high-tech products to China.

Chinese officials promised to drop government procurement policies favoring "indigenous innovation products" and to strengthen intellectual property protection.

The two sides also agreed to advance the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations, to reject trade and investment protectionism and to make joint efforts to improve the international financial sector.

"Through this round of economic dialogue, we increased our mutual understanding, expanded consensus and achieved fruitful results. This will give a strong boost to the growth of the Sino-US cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit," Wang said.

According to a statement released by US Treasury Department, China said it will allow US and other foreign banks incorporated in its country to sell mutual funds and act as custodians for the funds.

The Treasury said foreign insurers, including those from the US, will be able to sell car insurance in China, the world's largest automobile market, under an agreement reached this week, Bloomberg reported.

Both sides also agreed to initiate a mechanism to create a "positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship in the 21st century" and signed a comprehensive framework for cooperation in fields such as smart grid, wind power, natural gas and aviation bio-fuel, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Analysts suggested that these agreements are all small steps compared with fundamental issues such as Washington's recognition of China's market economy status, the US budget deficit and the value of the yuan.

The Treasury statement said the two sides will consult through the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce (JCCT) in a cooperative manner to work toward China's market economy status in an expeditious and comprehensive way.

This was old news, analysts countered: According to the China News Service, at the first S&ED in Washington in July 2009, US officials had already made such a pledge.

"It was like on Wednesday once more," Zheng Jianmin, a professor at the business school in the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times. "The promise of consulting with the JCCT will be fruitless if there are no concrete actions in the future."

China has been seeking recognition of market economy status for two decades. In 2004, New Zealand became the first country to recognize it, followed by more than 80 other countries.

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Source: Global Times
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