U.S. to Push China 'Hard' for Procurement Access

Beijing has yet to sign WTO procurement agreement it agreed to as part of its accession in 2001.

The United States will push China hard to open up restricted access to its vast state-controlled procurement market, the Treasury's top international official said Tuesday.

"We will push hard to ensure that China opens its large government procurement market at all levels of its economy on terms that are comparable to those of other large markets," said Lael Brainard, the Treasury's under secretary for international affairs.

Foreign firms have little access to sell goods and services to China's government, despite China's membership in the World Trade Organization.

Beijing committed to sign a WTO procurement agreement as part of its accession in 2001, but has not yet done so.

Brainard, who participated in the annual U.S.-China strategic and economic talks held in Beijing last week, also emphasized that the Obama administration continues to seek better protection of intellectual property rights from the Asian giant.

Brainard described the May 3-May 4 talks as yielding "encouraging progress."

Brainard expressed hope that China will continue to make its yuan currency more flexible, after allowing it to appreciate by 13% against the dollar in real terms over the past two years.

Reiterating long-held U.S. concerns that China is keeping the currency undervalued to keep its exports cheap, gaining an unfair trade advantage, Brainard said that moving to a market-determined exchange rate will be a powerful tool as China rebalances and opens its financial system.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

See Also:

United States Sees 'Promising' Rise in China Currency

Viewpoint: Death by China is a Global Call to Action to Confront the Dragon

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