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US, China tout progress on trade irritants

Published on Dec 20, 2012 9:21 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - After a year of clashes on trade and investment issues, senior US and Chinese officials on Wednesday touted progress on a number of commercial irritants as a sign of the commitment both countries have to building a stronger relationship.

China agreed to take further steps to address US concerns about widespread piracy and counterfeiting of American-made goods by strengthening enforcement of intellectual property rights and promoting the use of legal software by state-owned banks and state-owned enterprises, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming told reporters after the meeting.

Such pledges are a staple of the annual US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, but US officials said it was important to keep up steady pressure on the issue because of the big potential payoff for US firms.

"Some of these issues may seem a bit esoteric, but they can make the difference between millions, billions of dollars of new exports and jobs being retained here at home," US Trade Representative Ron Kirk told reporters.

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