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China, U.S. hammer out trade concerns

A joint commission is taking steps to resolve commercial concerns about the development of a wireless networking security standard and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade announced steps toward resolving several commercial issues including the development of a wireless networking security standard and the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

As previously reported, the JCCT held a briefing Wednesday in Washington, D.C., outlining actions that the U.S. and Chinese governments would take to deal with growing concerns about trade relations. The outline reached into several industries from agriculture to high tech. Various working groups will be formed under the commission to bring together trade, judicial and law enforcement groups from the two nations.

Trade tensions between the two countries have grown as commercial problems went unaddressed while the Chinese market grew in significance for U.S. exports. From 2000 to 2003, U.S. exports to China increased 76 percent; at the same time, exports to the rest of the world decreased 9 percent, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. China is the sixth largest market for U.S. exports, and is the United States' third biggest trading partner, behind Canada and Mexico.

Created in 1983 as a forum to resolve trade issues between the two countries, the JCCT has grown in significance as China's role in the economic world has increased. The commission's chairmen are Commerce Secretary Don Evans, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi.

The JCCT said Wednesday that China wouldn't interfere in the development of wireless technology, allowing U.S. companies to have a fuller role in China's IT markets. The government would indefinitely suspend the enforcement and use of a proprietary wireless encryption standard called Wireless Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI) and also work with international industry groups to revise the specification. Telecom service providers will also be allowed to choose which third-generation standard to use for cellular phone networks, and regulators would not be involved in royalty payment terms.

Addressing a major concern of entertainment and media companies in the United States--rampant piracy of music, movies and other works--the Chinese government agreed to take a more active role in the reduction of intellectual property rights infringement. Penalties for violations of intellectual property rights will be increased, nationwide enforcement actions against piracy and counterfeiting will be conducting and protection of electronic data will be improved. A national campaign has already started to educate people on the significance of intellectual property.

The import and export of U.S. goods will be improved because U.S. companies will not be required to go through Chinese trading companies. Additionally, China agreed to further open its market for U.S. agricultural products by issuing safety certificates for U.S. biotech soybeans, announcing the biotech approval of U.S. canola and corn and making it easier to export American wheat, cotton, corn and other products to China.