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US Export Promotion Targets PRC

Oct 9, 2007
The DOC recently released the 2007 National Export Strategy, which outlines the Bush administration's priorities for promoting U.S. exports in the coming year.

This year's report emphasises the benefits of exporting and encourages companies to get involved, pointing out that U.S. export competitiveness, improvements in market access and technology, and strong foreign demand represent a "superlative set of conditions" for U.S. companies to enter the global marketplace. The report identifies China, India and Brazil as countries that U.S. exporters should consider due to the size of their markets and their records of strong economic growth.

The report notes that 2006 was a particularly good year for U.S. exports to China in a number of sectors, including machine tools and agricultural, fishery and forestry products.

Despite this solid performance, U.S. officials continue to believe that China is one of the most challenging markets in the world for U.S. companies. Among other things, the U.S. contends that (i) China's business environment lacks predictability, (ii) the Chinese government does not provide effective protection to U.S. intellectual property, (iii) China still practices or allows certain mercantilist-style policies, and (iv) China retains much of the apparatus of a planned economy.

The U.S. plans to continue to address these and other challenges within the framework of the Strategic Economic Dialogue and the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. The U.S. will also continue to support several China-related programmes in the area of IPR, including the following.

U.S.- China Intellectual Property Rights Training Program. In May 2006, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began a technical assistance programme with China's General Administration of Customs that included training for GAC management and front-line officers on customs regulations and methods to improve enforcement capabilities. The programme consists of three separate two-week sessions to review IPR law and international conventions and the role of customs administrations in IPR protection and enforcement.

China IPR Advisory Program. This programme provides U.S. companies with a one-hour free legal consultation with a volunteer attorney to learn how to protect and enforce their IPR in China. Over 47 companies have used this service to date.

Monthly China IPR Webinar Series for U.S. Industry. Twelve Webinars have been undertaken to date with over 600 on-line participants.

U.S. federal agencies are also helping U.S. companies take advantage of the rapid economic growth in China, in part by further developing their trade promotion infrastructure in the mainland.

The report notes that China is the largest post in the world for both the Foreign Agricultural Service (five offices and 49 staff) and the DOC (six offices and 113 staff). In addition, the U.S. Commercial Service has American Trading Centers in 14 fast-growing secondary cities throughout China. Some of the more notable trade promotion efforts that were undertaken in 2006 are summarized below.

Gutierrez's Trade Mission to China. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez's trade mission to Shanghai and Beijing in October/November 2006 included 22 senior executives from U.S. companies, resulting in projects valued at US$8 billion.

State/City Trade Missions. The U.S. Embassy in China hosted 10 state-led and three city-led trade missions in 2006.

Export Financing. The Export-Import Bank of the United States completed negotiations under the auspices of the SED to facilitate the sale of medium-term financing for U.S. capital goods and services exports to China.

U.S.-China Aviation Summit. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the Department of Transportation hosted this summit to help strengthen the technical and commercial relationship between the U.S. and Chinese aviation sectors.

USDA Promotion Efforts. On-going Department of Agriculture efforts in China focus on areas of potential export growth. At the May 2006 Sial-China trade show in Shanghai, the USA Pavilion hosted 25 U.S. companies and agricultural trade organisations.

In 2007 the U.S. intends to continue to focus on China's second-tier cities and on several high-growth sectors, including agricultural products, aviation equipment, safety and security, healthcare, construction and pollution control and energy efficiency. Some of the activities planned for this year are described below.

A clean energy technologies trade mission to Beijing and Nanjing, carried out earlier in the year, helped U.S. providers of energy efficiency equipment and services identify opportunities in the Chinese market.

The third annual U.S. Health Care Forum will be held in an effort to encourage improvements in the Chinese regulatory environment and promote U.S. healthcare equipment, services and pharmaceuticals.

Federal government trade promotion agencies will continue to support the growing number of U.S. states that are organising and leading trade missions to China.
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