United States officials returned from China on Monday full of optimistic rhetoric on intellectual property rights protection, but short on details.

"We obtained firm commitments from China in the areas of competition law, intellectual property protection, standards setting, and environmental conservation that will level the playing field for our companies in China," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement following a meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.

A statement from the U.S. Department of Commerce reiterated the progress that had been made with respect to intellectual property rights, saying, "China clarified several ongoing and intended efforts to revise China's trade secrets system and provide more effective aspects of its civil judicial system to deter and respond to the misappropriation of trade secrets."

But it remains to be seen if clarification on China's "intended efforts" is enough for critics who want to see the U.S. take more action to reduce IPR losses and the theft of trade secrets in China. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a Dec. 2 hearing to address trade theft.

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