Nov. 21 - U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson says current strains make it critical that some progress is made at annual trade meeting with China. Arnold Gay reports.
The annual trade meeting being held in southwest China comes at a time when broader ties are strained, with claims Beijing doesn't play by international rules and allegations it keeps its yuan undervalued, at the expense of U.S. jobs. After opening talks on Sunday (November 20) failed to produce any meaningful results, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson says the current strains make it critical that some progress is made at these discussions. SOUNDBITE (English) U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY JOHN BRYSON SAYING: "Many in the U.S., including the business community and the Congress, are moving toward a more negative view of our trading relationship, and they question whether JCCT is able to make meaningful progress. So here at JCCT we need to move with a sense of urgency throughout this day." The 2-day Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade talks will not tackle the yuan or broader political tensions, but the U.S. wants progress on intellectual property protection, and Beijing's ban on U.S. beef imports. On its part, China wants high-tech restrictions loosened, saying they hold back purchases of U.S. goods that could narrow the trade gap. China's Vice Premier and delegation head, Wang Qishan, says cooperation between the two works better than confrontation. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE VICE PREMIER WANG QISHAN SAYING: "Under the current circumstances, both sides should work together, fully implement the consensus reached at the G20 Ghana summit, stand up against trade protectionism with concrete actions, avoid politicizing economic issues, and push for strong, sustainable and balanced economic development for both countries, and the whole world." His remarks come after recent high profile criticism of China from U.S. President Barack Obama. At the heart of the trade friction is the U.S. trade deficit with China, which rose to a record $273 billion last year, up from about $227 billion in 2009. Arnold Gay, Reuters.