Dec 18 (Reuters) – China agreed to allow U.S. medicines and medical devices into local markets more quickly and open up its anti-trust procedures, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said on Thursday after bilateral trade talks between the two nations.
U.S. and Chinese officials said they made progress on a range of issues at three-day Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meetings, which aims to smooth out snags in a trade relationship worth more than $600 billion a year.
The U.S. side highlighted progress on intellectual property and anti-trust laws as well as opening markets for U.S. products such as medicines, which firms have complained are subject to a burdensome approval process.
“They agreed to cut red tape for imports of new and innovativepharmaceuticals and medical devices and to deal with the backlog,” Pritzker told reporters.
China agreed to publish the results of administrative proceedings conducted under its anti-monopoly laws and allow U.S. firms to consult with legal counsel, she said. China’s laws have been criticized for lacking transparency and targeting foreign companies.
In a press conference in Chicago prior to the U.S. announcement, Chinese officials did not comment on medical devices and medicines. They said, however, that both sides agreed on “intensifying cooperation on food safety.”
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the two countries agreed to talk more about approvals for biotech crops, which seed companies have complained take too long and are often not based on science.
As the talks began, China said it would approve imports of American-grown Viptera corn developed by Swiss-based Syngenta , as well as shipments of biotech soybeans developed by DuPont Pioneer and Bayer CropScience.
“The dialogue we’ve agreed to, to ease the adoption of our innovative agricultural products, will benefit corn and soybean farmers right here in America’s heartland,” Froman said.
Niu Dun, China’s vice minister of agriculture, said through a translator: “The regulation (and) supervision of biotechnology products is a priority in China-U.S. cooperation and we are making smooth progress.”
Pritzker said the two countries also had productive talks on how to deal with excess capacity in the solar industry, after the United States slapped hefty anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Chinese solar goods as the talks began.