U.S. and China Renew Cooperation on Affordable Housing
Washington, DC -- U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson and the People's Republic of China Construction Minister Wang Guangtao today signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) that renews the two nations commitment to work together to improve and expand affordable housing opportunities.
Last year, President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to create a Strategic Economic Dialogue to provide an overarching framework for discussing ongoing and diverse economic challenges.
The agreement, which was first discussed during Jackson's trip to Beijing, China in July, is a reflection of the broad interaction between the economies of the two countries. The MOC is designed to promote cooperation on a number of policy research issues related to housing and community development. With the MOC, HUD joins a number of other Federal departments and agencies which have similar cooperative arrangements with counterparts in Beijing.
Under this new bilateral cooperative framework, the U.S. and China will explore a variety of solutions to housing challenges of mutual concern through collaborative efforts, and share and exchange information on research, policies, and programs. Areas of cooperation will include: providing affordable low-income housing, promoting energy efficiency, enhancing secondary mortgage market operations and creative housing finance systems.
"Each country faces a unique set of challenges, but we have common concerns about the housing and well-being of our peoples. I believe we have much to share on the effectiveness of different approaches in this critical sector," Jackson added.
MEMORANDUM OF COOPERATION
BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND THE MINISTRY OF CONSTRUCTION
OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
IN THE FIELD OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The Department of Housing and Urban Development of the United States of America and the Ministry of Construction of the People's Republic of China,
SHARING a dedication to promoting affordable housing opportunities and the ideals of a democratic society with equal opportunity for all,
ACKNOWLEDGING the extensive cooperative relationship which exists between our governments,
DESIRING to promote cooperation between our agencies in the field of housing and community development, to explore solutions to problems of mutual concern through collaborative efforts in this field, and to share and exchange information on our research, policies, and programs,
Have reached the following understanding:
In order to realize the benefits of this Memorandum of Cooperation, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Ministry of Construction of the People's Republic of China intend to develop cooperative activities as specified below, or as may be subsequently decided upon in the future.
The bi-national cooperation is to be jointly chaired by the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Minister of Construction of the People's Republic of China. Together, they intend to oversee the development of a work plan that specifies projects for cooperation. Government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations from both countries are to be involved in the implementation of these projects.
The potential areas of cooperation under consideration for the initial phase of bilateral collaboration follow:
- Affordable housing policy for low and moderate income households;
- Role of the national government in addressing low income housing needs;
- Housing finance system, primary mortgage market development, asset management, and the establishment and development of a public housing finance system;
- Efficient secondary mortgage market operations with links to international capital flows;
- Construction design and technology for affordable housing;
- Energy efficient residential building construction and operation;
- Sustainable urban and regional economic development programs;
- National policy and research issues in housing and community development; and
- Other areas of mutual interest to the two governments.
Activities initiated under this Memorandum of Cooperation are to be conducted on the basis of equality, reciprocity, and mutual benefit. Such cooperation may be implemented through one or more of the following means:
- exchanges of delegations to study different policy and program issues, site visits, and technical briefings;
- exchanges of information, e.g., research studies, policy documents, program evaluations, legal authorities and regulations, technical standards;
- organization of joint conferences, seminars, workshops, and pilot projects; and
- joint policy research studies.
All activities undertaken pursuant to this Memorandum of Cooperation are subject to the respective laws and regulations of the two countries. The activities undertaken pursuant to this Memorandum of Cooperation are subject to the concurrence of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Ministry of Construction of the People's Republic of China and should pertain to housing policies and community development issues in the two countries.
The nature and extent of activities undertaken pursuant to this Memorandum of Cooperation are to be determined by the consent of both the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Ministry of Construction of the People's Republic of China and are subject to the availability of personnel and duly authorized and appropriated funds. Each government will bear the cost of its participation in such activities.
The coordination of program activities and events related to the implementation of the bilateral cooperative program is to be managed, for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, jointly by the Assistant Secretary of Housing / Federal Housing Commissioner and the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research and, for the Ministry of Construction of the People's Republic of China, jointly by the Director General for Housing and Real Estate and the Director General for International Affairs. These officials, following appropriate consultations within their agencies and with other relevant organizations regarding shared housing and urban policy concerns between the U.S. and Chinese Governments, should define and manage future cooperative activities within the framework of this Memorandum of Cooperation.
Representatives of interested non-governmental organizations should be encouraged to participate in project implementation activities, to the extent feasible.
Activities under this Memorandum of Cooperation are expected to begin immediately upon signature by representatives of the two governments. This Memorandum of Cooperation is to remain effective for a period of five years. Either government intending to terminate its activities under this Memorandum should endeavor to provide the other government at least 120 days notice of its intention to do so.
This Memorandum of Cooperation is not intended to be binding under international law.
SIGNED in Washington, D.C., in duplicate, in the English and Chinese languages.
"Through cooperative actions and a sharing of experiences we will better address housing and urban problems we each face and the strategies needed to address them," said Jackson who took part in the May 2007 session of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in Washington. "China and the United States have discovered that our joint cooperative endeavors can be mutually rewarding."