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“This is the first Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) since the new Chinese and US administrations took office,” Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said at the meeting.
The American delegation includes US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
In a separate meeting with the delegation, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday urged the US to relax limits on China’s high-tech imports.
“We expect the U.S. to relax restrictions on high-tech exports to China and provide a good environment for Chinese businesses to invest in the United States,” Li said.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the JCCT, an annual forum launched in 1983 for the two countries to address trade and investment issues.
“The JCCT has witnessed soaring bilateral trade, which has totalled 50 trillion U.S. dollars this year from 4 billion U.S. dollars in 1983,” Wang said.
Bilateral investment has increased to $10 trillion this year from $100 million in 1983, Wang said.
He said the JCCT also helps build a solid foundation for the “new model of major-power relations”, which presidents of the two countries reached consensus on during their summit in June in California.
“We have the potential here today to demonstrate our two countries’ ability to remove trade and investment barriers, increase openness and efficiency of our markets, and ensure the stable trade and investment relationship moves forward,” Froman said at the opening session.
“Government and business leaders in the U.S. and around the world have expressed how the JCCT should play an important role in supporting shared growth and prosperity between the world’s two largest economies,” Pritzker said.
China’s recent rejections of US corn shipments is expected to be discussed in talks with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.
Beijing has rejected several shipments since mid-November that it says tested positive for a genetically modified corn variety not approved for import by China.
The two countries agreed to restart stalled negotiations on an investment treaty this summer after China said it would drop blanket restrictions on talks for market access in industries, especially in its service sector.