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US to Press China on Liberalizing High-Tech Trade

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 7:16pm
The Associated Press

In this April 22, 2014 file photo, Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler, left, shakes hands with Japan's deputy chief negotiator Hiroshi Oe ahead of their meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo. The U.S. and Japan should reach a compromise in bilateral trade negotiations to help conclude a trans-Pacific free trade pact by year's end, a senior Japanese official said Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Hiroyuki Ishige, who is chairman of the Japan External Trade Organization, told a Washington think tank that political leaders of both sides need to make bold decisions and recognize the strategic importance of finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. His comments come as the U.S. continues negotiations with Japan in Washington this week on opening up its auto market. Japan is also under pressure to open up its heavily protected agricultural sector. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, Pool, File)

Washington (AP) — The U.S. is looking for concessions from China to kick-start international negotiations on liberalizing trade in high-technology products.

Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters the U.S. wants to resolve differences with China over products covered by the Information Technology Agreement during annual high-level U.S.-China talks that start Wednesday in Beijing.

Negotiations to update the 1996 agreement have been snared by China's desire to protect dozens of new product categories. Some 70 countries participate in the agreement, accounting for much of global trade in that sector.

Froman said Monday it's within China's grasp to get the ITA negotiations restarted based on a list more consistent with what other nations want.

He warned that despite recent progress in bilateral talks, there are limits to what would make the deal "commercially meaningful."

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