About the Author: Robert D. Hormats serves as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.
For the past week I've been traveling in China and Vietnam. This has been a great opportunity to broaden the scope of our bilateral economic relationship with both these countries.
In Beijing, I met with with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Council Information Office, and the State Leading Council for Economic Planning. We addressed a host of issues that concern American companies doing business in and with China: indigenous innovation, protection of intellectual property rights, in addition to Internet freedom. I am particularly concerned that the proposed Chinese indigenous innovation accreditation system, through its IPR, trademark and brand requirements, will severely limit the access foreign companies have to China's government procurement process. And more broadly, lack of tough enforcement of intellectual property laws and measures that force the transfer of intellectual property to Chinese companies can harm our most competitive industries and our most innovative sectors, such as software, entertainment and pharmaceuticals. Many of these issues were part of my speech at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, where I discussed the broadening of the U.S.-China economic partnership.
Following Beijing, I traveled to South China to attend the Bo'ao Forum for Asia. It is modeled after the World Economic Forum in Davos, and every year, senior government officials, prominent entrepreneurs, central bankers and business executives gather in a small town in Hainan Island in South China to exchange ideas on topics such as sustainable development and growth, financial architecture, and trade.
The theme of this year's conference was "Green Recovery: The Prospects for Sustained Growth in Asia," and I had the honor of participating on a panel discussion on the new G-8 and G-20 architecture with luminaries such as People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan, French Deputy Central Banker Jean-Pierre Landau and World Bank Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub. We had a thoughtful discussion on the challenges facing these institutions in a post-financial crisis world. The Chinese government attaches great importance to this conference, and China's Vice President Xi Jianping led the Chinese delegation this year.
While at Bo'ao, I also had a few bilateral meetings, including with the National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Zhang Xiaoqiang. Indigenous innovation was our primary topic of conversation. I also had a rare opportunity for an informal conversation with Vice President Xi at a conference dinner -- where we focused on the importance of continued progress in U.S.-China relations.
I will post an entry on my visit to Vietnam tomorrow.