China Agrees to Intellectual Property Protections

After two days of talks in Washington, Chinese economic officials agreed to implement measures to reduce piracy. From the New York Times:

The Chinese delegation, led by Wang Qishan, the vice premier for economic matters, also agreed to lift certain barriers to imports of heavy industrial machinery and to hold talks on easing a ban on imports of American beef that was imposed during a 2003 scare over mad cow disease.

The talks, which took place during an annual forum known as the United States-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, did not address the thorniest issues in the economic relations between the two countries, like the giant trade imbalance and the value of China’s currency. But the largely technical discussions helped set the stage for a state visit by President Hu Jintao to Washington next month, officials on both sides said.

“The two sides have had candid exchanges of views on China-U.S. economic cooperation,” Mr. Wang said in a joint news conference with his American counterparts: Ron Kirk, the United States trade representative; Gary Locke, the commerce secretary; and Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary.

Mr. Kirk praised Mr. Wang for agreeing to personally oversee a public campaign to reduce rampant theft of intellectual property — copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets — in China. “We expect to see concrete and measurable results on issues like intellectual property rights, including increased purchase and use of legal software in China,” he said.

See also from the Washington Post blog, “Business: A cautious welcome to China’s concessions.