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August 6, 2009

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Market economy step closer

THE United States will cooperatively consult through the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade to quickly work toward China's market economy status.

This was a key element of a joint fact sheet, released in Beijing yesterday, of the first China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue's economic track.

The dialogue, jointly launched by President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama during their meeting in April in London, was held in Washington DC from July 27 to 28.

The US recognized the continued progress China had made in its market reforms and would "earnestly consider China's concerns," the statement said.

The two sides were among the beneficiaries of and participants in the global trading system, and both were committed to work for a more open international trade and investment system and jointly fight protectionism, it said.

The two countries also agreed in the statement on calling on all other World Trade Organization members to work together for an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda next year, consistent with its mandate, building on the progress already made.

They reaffirmed that, at a time of economic uncertainty, the ongoing bilateral investment treaty talks, could contribute to the implementation of G-20 Summit commitments to an open global economy.

China would further decentralize approval authority and streamline approval procedures for foreign investment, including by increasing over time the threshold for central government review.

China agreed to commit itself to the implementation of the Generally Accepted Principles and Practices governing Sovereign Wealth Funds, according to the statement.

The US confirmed that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States process ensured the consistent and fair treatment of all foreign investment without prejudice to the place of origin.

And it reaffirmed its commitment to the open and non-discriminatory principles for recipients of sovereign wealth fund investment as identified by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In addition, the two countries agreed to accelerate the implementation of "Guidelines for China-US High Technology and Strategic Trade Development" and expeditiously formulate the "Action Plan on Expansion of China-US High Technology and Strategic Trade Cooperation in Priority Sectors."

The two recognized the importance of non-discriminatory government procurement policies.

To that end, they agreed to strengthen their cooperation in order to accelerate China's accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, which would include China's submission of a report setting out the improvements that China would make in its revised offer. The submission will be handed to the WTO Government Procurement Committee before its meeting in October.

According to the statement, the two countries would also strengthen their cooperation on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, including counterfeiting.


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