On Thursday morning, visiting US Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans and Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi attended a round table on intellectual property rights, said Xinhua News Agency. The conference is held annually at suggestion of US Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt.
IPR has been a key concern to the United States, whose companies lose an estimated US$25 billion annually to copyright, patent and trademark theft around the world.
China has intensified its moves to halt IPR infringement. In April last year, Wu Yi vowed to crack down on rampant piracy and in December it became easier to prosecute counterfeiters and imprison them for up to seven years.
Commerce Minister Bo Xilai told Evans on Wednesday that his work to promote China-US trade ties was "pretty good" during his four-year tenure, according a report in China Daily.
But Bo said it is regretful that the US did not grant China full market economy status during Evans' stint in his key presidential cabinet post. Evans will step down later this month.
Bo said the recognition of China as a market economy would prove the US is "willing to promote trade with China on a free and fair footing."
Market economy status can be a key issue in making determinations of anti-dumping cases. Not recognizing it for China makes it easier for US companies to win anti-dumping claims.
Evans, who began a three-day visit to China on Tuesday, said at a breakfast co-sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in China and the US-China Business Council that trade and economic relations between the US and China have shown progress in a number of areas.
He noted that China is America's fastest growing export market, and US agricultural exports to the country are expanding dramatically, according to the China Daily report. Chinese companies are increasingly investing in the US and the country as a whole is making progress toward satisfying its World Trade Organization commitments. The two countries have reached accords on such difficult issues as wireless network standards.
Evans also pointed to trade frictions that exist between the two nations, expressing his hope that the problems will be resolved.
"We look forward to developing a higher standard of economic cooperation with China that can level the playing field," China Daily quoted Evans as saying.
Carlos Gutierrez, head of US cereal giant Kellogg Co., is President George W. Bush's nominee to replace Evans. Senate confirmation of the appointment is expected to come later this month.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn January 13, 2005)