China, US to hold annual trade talks next week

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Senior US and Chinese officials will hold annual trade talks in Beijing next week, China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday, as the world's two largest economies try to iron out an array of long-held tensions.

Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang will host US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Trade Representative Michael Froman for the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) on Dec 19-20, ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a press briefing.

US politicians are eager to attract Chinese investment as a source of new jobs and economic growth, though high-profile Chinese projects have been scrapped after running into national security concerns.

Officials cited food safety worries in a review of the acquisition of the world's largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods Inc, by China's Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd, though the deal received US approval in September.

China makes perennial pledges to address US concerns about widespread piracy and counterfeiting of American-made goods, and Beijing has long pressed the United States to ease its restrictions on exports of high-technology goods.

The two countries agreed to restart stalled negotiations on an investment treaty this summer after China said it would drop blanket restrictions on talks for market access in industries, especially in its service sector.

The United States recorded a US$315 billion (S$395 billion) trade deficit with China in 2012.

The JCCT is an annual forum launched in 1983 for the two countries to address trade and investment issues.

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