The dispute over tire imports between the US and China is an anomaly that should not "taint" bilateral ties, said Jon Huntsman, Washington's ambassador to Beijing.
In an interview with China Central Television, Huntsman said both countries should treat their relationship, which is now "a global one", with "goodwill, understanding, and mutual respect".
"We can take that issue, we can compartmentalize it and deal with it with trade experts, while allowing all the other issues to remain on the horizon, where concerns and questions about the trade case don't spill over, in other words, tainting the relationship," Huntsman said in Beijing a few days before the G20 summit opened in Pittsburgh.
Sino-US ties are "probably the most important economic relationship" in the world, he added. But the relationship suffered a setback earlier this month after US President Barack Obama approved the imposition of tariffs on tires imported from China. That action pushed China to voice concern about rising protectionism before the Pittsburgh G20 meeting this week.
Obama approved three years of tariffs on Chinese tires, at 35 percent in the first year, 30 percent in the second and 25 percent in the third.
In a meeting in New York this week, Chinese President Hu Jintao told Obama similar cases should be avoided in future.
Huntsman said both countries still need better coordination in handling their relations, which he described as "an important part of the overall G20".
"The rest of the world will benefit if we two countries coordinate well," he said, suggesting both nations put "any issue we discuss passionately" in a global context.
"It's been a bilateral relationship over the past 30 years. Now it's gone well beyond that, and ours is a global relationship," Huntsman said, noting "the Chinese economy is pulling the global economy forward".