U.S.-China Trade: Detailed Lists of Commitments in Key Bilateral Dialogues (GAO-14-224SP, February 2014), an E-supplement to GAO-14-102

Read the Full Report: U.S.-China Trade: United States Has Secured Commitments in Key Bilateral Dialogues, but U.S. Agency Reporting on Status Should Be Improved (GAO-14-102).


GAO was asked to prepare an inventory of specific bilateral trade measures that China made as part of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). This e-supplement presents an inventory of China's trade commitments that we identified and categorized in the bilateral dialogues of the JCCT and the S&ED. In addition to the commitment text, information provided for each commitment includes (1) issue area categorization; and (2) whether a deadline is specified in the commitment. This inventory is the basis for commitment information presented in our full report. Use the link above to view the full report, which includes a more detailed discussion of our methodology.

The inventory of commitments and issue area categorization for the JCCT and S&ED can be accessed from the two links below.

To identify and analyze these commitments, we interviewed knowledgeable U.S. government officials from the Department of Commerce (Commerce), the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Departments of the Treasury (Treasury), State (State), and Agriculture (USDA) as well as the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in Washington, D.C., and in Beijing, China (via videoconference). We also interviewed representatives of trade associations and research organizations.

According to senior Commerce, USTR, and Treasury officials, the commitments presented in the fact sheets are the official commitments negotiated with the Chinese government. We analyzed and compiled these commitments as presented in this supplement. We conducted a detailed review of the fact sheets issued at the conclusion of annual meetings at the JCCT from 2004 through 2012, the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) from 2006 through 2008, and the S&ED from 2009 through 2013. (In the SED, which preceded the S&ED, the two governments discussed the most important economic, but not political, issues in the bilateral relationship.) For the S&ED, we limited our analysis to China's commitments in the trade and investment pillar of the dialogue's economic track. In our inventory, the "S&ED commitments" include trade and investment commitments China made in the S&ED in 2009 through 2013 and its predecessor, SED, in 2007 and 2008.

We separated the fact sheet text describing steps taken by China into individual commitments and systematically analyzed individual commitments using a structured review process. The fact sheets state China's commitments, U.S. commitments, and joint U.S.-China commitments. We excluded fact sheet text stating U.S. commitments, but included statements about commitments made jointly by the United States and China and by China alone.

We identified 11 issue areas to characterize the content of each commitment. Because many commitments covered multiple issue areas, we assigned up to 3 issue areas to each commitment. We also identified some commitments that did not fit any of the 11 issue areas and categorized these commitments as "other." We discussed this methodology with officials from Commerce, USTR, Treasury, State, and USDA.

The issue areas are:
• Government procurement
• High technology trade
• Innovation
• Intellectual property rights
• Investment
• Multilateral issues
• Open trade principles
• Sector-specific issues
• Technical and regulatory barriers to trade
• Trade remedies
• Transparency
• Other

We conducted this performance audit from May 2012 to February 2014 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.

Click on the links below to view

List of JCCT Commitments

List of S&ED Trade and Investment Commitments

Abbreviations Used in the Commitments

3G third generation
4G fourth generation
APEC Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
APECTEL Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Telecommunications and Information Working Group
AQSIQ State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine
CCPIT China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
CFIUS Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
CNCA National Certification and Accreditation Administration
EDS express delivery services
FTA free trade agreement
G-20 Group of 20
GPA Government Procurement Agreement of the World Trade Organization
IEC International Electrotechnical Commission
IP intellectual property
IPR intellectual property rights
JCCT U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade
MLPS Multi-Level Protection Scheme
MOF Ministry of Finance
MOFCOM Ministry of Commerce
MOU memorandum of understanding
NEV new energy vehicle
PRC People's Republic of China
RMB renminbi
SCLAO State Council Legislative Affairs Office
S&ED U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue
SED U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue
SEI strategic emerging industry
SFDA State Food and Drug Administration
SME small and medium-sized enterprise
SOE state-owned enterprise
SPB State Postal Bureau
TBT technical barriers to trade
TRIPS Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of the World Trade Organization
USTR Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
VAT value-added tax
WAPI WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure
WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization
WLAN wireless local area network
WTO World Trade Organization


David Gootnick at gootnickd@gao.gov or (202) 512-3149



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