US Trade Officials Meet With Chinese Authorities

High-ranking US international trade officials met last week with their counterparts in China to lay
the groundwork for a December 18 meeting of the US/China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.
These officials warned there are issues with China that present “a number of challenges.” At a
press briefing following the meetings, Deputy US Trade Representative Karan Bhata and acting
Undersecretary of Commerce Christopher Padilla underscored the importance of US trade with China,
pointing out that trade has doubled in the past five years and China now is the second-largest
provider of goods to the US market. However, they cited a number of areas presenting a “major
challenge,” including product safety, protection of intellectual property rights and China’s
overall industrial policy that they say works in favor of Chinese manufacturers at the expense of
other manufacturers, including those in the United States.

While they did not specifically mention China’s currency policies, which are a major bone of
contention with US manufacturers, they did cite a number of Chinese regulations and policies that
need to be addressed. The US officials also said there is a need to deal with protectionism in the
United States and some of the legislation pending in Congress, which they say will “adversely
affect our bilateral relationship.”

While the high-level meetings of the joint commission rarely result in specific actions, they
do provide a forum to bring political and diplomatic pressure on issues of concern to both

October 16, 2007