Posted at 1:56 PM
Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker delivered remarks during a joint press conference with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman at the conclusion of 27th meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). During her remarks, Secretary Pritzker highlighted progress made in the areas of pharmaceutical and medical device market access and the future of the semiconductor industry. She also spoke about remaining issues with respect to technology and innovation policy, as well as China’s excess capacity in multiple sectors.
Secretary Pritzker highlighted the two countries’ progress in promoting bilateral trade and commerce through the JCCT, but noted significant challenges remain in the bilateral relationship. The Secretary encouraged China to further reform, rebalance, and open its economy to achieve its declared ambition of letting market force play a “decisive role” in its economy. In closing, Secretary Pritzker affirmed that constructive engagement and sustained diplomacy between the U.S. and China are critical to making progress on the issues that remain in our relationship.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us as we conclude the 27th meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Trade and Commerce. I would like to thank Vice Premier Wang Yang and his team for traveling halfway around the world to meet with us this week. I also want to recognize Ambassador Froman, Ambassador Baucus, and Secretary Vilsack for their work – and the work of their teams – to make this dialogue a success.
When the Vice Premier, Ambassador Froman, and I began the process of “reimagining” the JCCT during a tea break in Beijing, we committed to building a more dynamic and effective economic dialogue between the United States and China – a commercial relationship that is critical not only to our own countries but to global economic growth and stability.
Our two markets are the largest on the planet. Together, our populations total more than 1.7 billion people – just shy of a quarter of the planet. And combined U.S. and China trade in goods and services add up to about one-fifth of all international trade.
The role of the JCCT is to expand this relationship by addressing commercial challenges head on and producing concrete results for both our countries.
Before today’s talks commenced, we had already made progress on cooperation in economic statistics reporting and issues related to WTO-mandated transparency procedures. In our government-to-government meetings today, among other issues, we focused on pharmaceutical and medical device market access, the future of the semiconductor industry, technology and innovation policy, and China’s excess capacity challenges in multiple sectors.
On pharmaceutical and medical device market access, we made progress on two of U.S. industry’s top priority issues. China committed to treating both domestic and foreign medical devices the same in regards to procurement, which will level the playing field for American companies who sell their products to China. China also affirmed that drug registration review and approval will not be linked to pricing commitments and will not require specific pricing information.
On semiconductors, we were pleased that China confirmed that its government has not asked their semiconductor investment funds to require technology transfer in order to participate in their projects. While far from resolving our concerns about China's semiconductor development program, we hope that the incremental progress we made today will lead to future actions to address our companies' concerns.
While we have had a productive day, significant challenges in our relationship remain. We continue to have fundamentally different views on the appropriate role of the state in the economy. For example, in regards to technology and innovation policy, we continue to have serious concerns about China's pursuit of policies that support indigenous innovation and require data localization. American companies continue to confront challenges related to intellectual property rights and trade secret theft in the Chinese market, though we recognize that China is working hard on this issue.
We also remain deeply concerned about excess capacity, particularly in steel and aluminum. We recognize that China faces challenges of its own in addressing this issue. But the responsible parties must meet to develop both short-term improvements and long-term solutions. In addition, despite progress on the semiconductor issue, we remain concerned that state-driven and financed investment will create market distortions in China and around the world. These distortions not only threaten long-term innovation in this critical sector but will hurt U.S. firms and workers and further undermine support for open trade and investment.
Looking at these and other challenges more broadly, it is clear that China has a long way to go towards achieving its declared ambitions, including letting market forces play a “decisive role” in its economy.
As the two largest economies and the two largest markets in the world, constructive engagement and sustained diplomacy between the United States and China are critical to making progress on the issues that remain in our relationship. Although this is my last time serving as co-chair, I want to emphasize that this dialogue has been and will remain the essential forum for promoting more commerce; for deepening trust; and for addressing real business challenges.
Now and into the future, the JCCT is an opportunity for us to build a legacy of cooperation, respect, and stronger U.S.-China economic ties. Thank you, and have a happy Thanksgiving.