US looking to ease China trade tensions
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer1 hour, 23 minutes ago
The United States and China opened a new round of high-level economic talks on Tuesday with the Bush administration pushing for concrete results and China saying efforts to politicize trade disagreements would be a mistake.
Breakthroughs were expected in the areas of boosting sales of American energy technology and banking services in China. Both sides were also scheduled to review the issue of food safety, highlighted by the deaths of pets after eating pet food made with tainted wheat gluten that had been imported from China.
Speaking in an ornate auditorium decked out with flags from both nations, Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi said it was important to resist "trade protectionism of all kinds." She said that attempts to "politicize" the economic relationship between the two nations would be "absolutely unacceptable."
"We should not easily blame the other side for our own domestic problems," she said, speaking through an interpreter. "Confrontation does no good at all to problem-solving."
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson called the second round of meetings under the Strategic Economic Dialogue historic because of the number of Cabinet officials from both sides who are participating.
"Never before have so many ministers from China gathered in one place in the United States. ... We both realize how critical it is for our countries that we get our long-term economic relationship right," Paulson said.
He said it was important for the two countries to work toward "near-term agreements that build confidence on both sides."
American manufacturers contend that China is manipulating its currency to keep it undervalued against the dollar by as much as 40 percent, making Chinese goods cheaper in the U.S. market and American products more expensive in China.