U.S. Seeks Intellectual Rights Protection, Exports in Annual China Talks

Annual U.S.-Chinese trade talks opened today, with American officials aiming for China to take concrete action to protect intellectual property rights and buy more U.S. products.

The 22nd U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade opened in the central Chinese city of Chengdu as the U.S. pushed in recent weeks for China to change its economic policies, with President Barack Obama saying it must meet international standards if it wants to compete in the global marketplace.

“Looking forward to these talks,’ U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke said today as the conference began. ‘‘These are very, very important economic times for both China and the United States, and indeed the world.’’

Underscoring the difficulty the U.S. will have in getting China to clamp down on intellectual-property theft, the talks took place in a hotel that is home to an ‘‘Amornini’’ clothing store, which featured a bird logo that closely resembles that of the Milan-based Giorgio Armani SpA fashion house.

The U.S. will seek ‘‘concrete and measurable results’’ on issues including intellectual property rights policy, innovation and investment, U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk, who is attending the talks, said in a statement earlier this month.

In the same statement, U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson, also present at the talks, said U.S. goals for the conference including opening the market to more U.S. exports and working to ‘‘level the playing field for American companies.’’ The U.S. trade deficit with China last year was $273 billion.

Level Playing Field

The talks were also joined by U.S. Secretary for Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The Chinese side was led by Vice Premier Wang Qishan.

President Obama, who met with China’s President Hu Jintao earlier this month in Honolulu, said that as China’s influence rises, leaders of the world’s second-largest economy must take more responsibility for ensuring trade is fair and that intellectual property rights are respected.

After Obama told Hu that the U.S. public and businesses were losing patience with China’s policies, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement saying the U.S. trade deficit and unemployment aren’t caused by the yuan exchange rate and a large appreciation in the currency won’t solve U.S. problems.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

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