Washington Update

January 24th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

The United States, China and 12 other World Trade Organization (WTO) members announced on January 24 they would begin work towards reducing tariffs on environmental goods, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and other green technologies. The talks represent the latest multilateral effort involving China aimed at reducing trade barriers for goods and services in global markets. Other recent multilateral negotiations involving China have not progressed significantly; negotiations over the...

January 14th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

The US-China Business Council today called on the White House and congressional leaders to oppose counterproductive language expected to be included in 2014 fiscal year appropriations that bars the Departments of Commerce and Justice, NASA, and the National Science Foundation from purchasing information technology (IT) systems from China without first conducting a cyber-espionage or sabotage risk assessment. The letter states that the rule “does little to improve the security of the US...

January 13th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

The United States will seek consultations with China in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China’s compliance with an earlier WTO panel decision on US grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel (GOES) exports, according to US Trade Representative Michael Froman. That case – which the United States won on appeal in October 2012 – challenged China’s imposition of anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVDs) on US steel exports; China was given until July 2013 to become compliant...

January 8th, 2014
Erin Ennis

The Obama administration today formally nominated Senator Max Baucus (D, MT) to be the next US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. Once confirmed, Baucus will succeed Ambassador Gary Locke, who has served in the position since 2011.
Baucus has been actively engaged on trade issues during his three decades in the Senate, particularly in his role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and has traveled eight times to China to discuss trade and commercial issues. He...

November 8th, 2013
Stephanie Henry

Today the US-China Business Council (USCBC) said that China has made important progress in opening-up its market since acceding to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, but still has many challenges left to address in order to achieve a fair and equitable market-place for foreign investors. 

In written testimony to the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee, USCBC stated that while China is often in compliance with the letter of its WTO commitments, it falls short of the...

October 31st, 2013
Stephanie Henry

The US Treasury Department declined to label China a currency manipulator in its latest Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, released on Wednesday, but acknowledged China’s currency remains “significantly undervalued.” In its report, Treasury noted that China's real exchange rate has appreciated 12 percent against the US dollar since June 2010, and by 45 percent against the dollar since 2005. However, the report states that there is “evidence...

October 9th, 2013
Stephanie Henry

The Senate US-China Working Group, co-chaired by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), met on Tuesday with China Ambassador Cui Tiankai to discuss the bilateral commercial and economic relationship, as well as military cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. In a statement on the meeting, Senator Kirk announced that the working group – which will be formally launched this fall – will serve as a forum for dialogue between the Senate and Chinese government leaders....

September 30th, 2013
Erin Ennis

For readers working inside the Washington beltway, the impending US government shutdown is dominating the news, with the minutiae of budget rules parsed daily. For readers outside of Washington, however, some context of the implications of the US budget gridlock may be useful to understanding the potential impact on US-China commercial relations.

The most pressing issue now is funding for the US government—which will close tomorrow unless the impasse is resolved—though soon after that...

September 20th, 2013
Stephanie Henry

China has stated its interest in joining the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) negotiations, according to a BNA report. If it formally joins the negotiations, China’s participation would add new dimension and complexity to the talks, and would correspond with China’s stated intention to pursue “proactive strategies” to strengthen its services sector. The TISA negotiations, launched in 2013, seek to remove barriers and increase market openings originally covered in the 1995 General Trade in...

November 17th, 2012
Stephanie Henry

The US Treasury Department today released its semiannual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, notably choosing not to label China a currency manipulator. The report stated the renminbi (RMB) has appreciated by 9.3 percent, and 12.6 percent at an inflation-adjusted rate, since June 2010. However, Treasury characterized the RMB as remaining "significantly undervalued" and emphasized that "more progress is needed" to effectively address currency...