U.S. and China Make Progress During Joint Commission
The 24th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade ended in Beijing yesterday. This is the highest level bilateral forum for resolving trade and investment issues between the U.S. and China. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says his discussions with China's Premier and other Chinese leaders laid the groundwork for future cooperation related to both countries' shared interests in food security, food safety and sustainability - along with expanding export opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers. During the JCCT - leaders discussed many high-priority issues. One of those issues was access for beef and horticultural products - through which the U.S. and China reached consensus to continued dialogue and the intention of restoring market access for beef by the middle of 2014. As for horticulture - Vilsack re-affirmed a pathway to re-open China's market for Washington apples and California citrus. Another issue discussed was the biotech approval process. Vilsack gave his commitment for implementing a pilot program on reviewing biotech products - and China agreed to discuss U.S. concerns about China's requirement for using viable seed in applications for biotech approvals. Import suspensions for four states related to avian influenza also were discussed - and China said it would analyze information provided by USDA to determine whether it would lift bans. Both countries agreed to hold a second High Level Agricultural Symposium in the coming year.
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