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China welcomes trade talks

Published By United Press International
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- China, whose trade with the United States helps it earn big surpluses, welcomes their recent high-level trade talks in the context of current global economy.

The 23rd session of the China-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, held this week in Washington, was co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

Vice Premier Wang also met with U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday as wells as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and national security adviser Tom Donilon to discuss bilateral relations, the official Chinese media said.

The trade talks were important for China as they were held in the backdrop of its slowing economy resulting partly from falling exports to major markets such as Europe.

At the trade talks, China and the United States agreed to "inject new vitality to bilateral trade and economic relations," the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Bilateral U.S.-China trade last year totaled more than $500 billion that produced a trade surplus to China of about $295 billion. The United States and China are now the world's largest and second largest economies.

The two sides also are locked in a number of trade disputes, with China being accused of unfair trade practices. Many of these issues have been referred to the World Trade Organization. Some U.S. critics also have charged China is deliberately keeping the value of its currency low in relation to other major currencies to make its exports cheaper and thus run huge trade surpluses against the United States.

Xinhua reported the two sides achieved a variety of consensuses on promoting bilateral trade and business ties, and signed two documents in support of bilateral trade cooperation.

The two sides agreed that strengthening China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation is conducive not only to the economic growth and job creation in both countries, but also to the robust, sustainable and balanced economic growth of the world.

Wang told the conference earlier that being the largest economies, further boosting China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation is of critical importance not only to the two economies but also to the global economy as a whole.

Kirk was quoted as saying the JCCT is one of the pillars of the stability in the relationship between the United States and China, while Blank said U.S.-China bilateral trade and commerce relationship has never been more important, Xinhua reported.

In a commentary ahead of the talks, Xinhua said: "China and the United States deeply rely on each other for economic growth and trade, and that interdependence has generated benefits for both countries despite frictions.

"Politicians in both countries should heed to this fact, refrain from extracting political gains from economic and trade issues and foster, instead of disturbing, the growing business ties between the world's two largest economies."

The article said the JCCT offers a good platform for both countries to "uphold cooperation and trust, and negotiate a timely solution to trade and economic disputes."

It reminded that despite "a large surplus in trade with the United States, China, with its vast domestic market, is now the third largest destination for U.S. exports, only behind Canada and Mexico."

It also said attributing the trade surplus to a weak Chinese currency is "grossly simplistic," asserting China's increasing productivity, a factor unrelated to exchange rates, has contributed in large part to Chinese exports growth.

Xinhua said the Chinese yuan has appreciated more than 20 percent since its currency reform in 2005, making Chinese goods in the United States costlier and American merchandise more affordable in China.

"Some American politicians portrayed China as a threatening economic powerhouse that covertly bends trade rules, calling for a more confrontational stance toward the Asian country on trade in Barack Obama's second term as president. Yet, neither Chinese nor American businesses can afford a trade war," it warned.
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