China sees the first Sino-US
strategic economic dialogue as an opportunity to correct misunderstandings
between the two sides, Vice-Premier Wu Yi said yesterday at the start of the
China's Vice Premier Wu Yi
(FOREGROUND) speaks at the opening of the Strategic Economic Dialogue as
the U.S. Delegation listens in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
December 14, 2006. In the U.S. delegation are (L-R) EPA Administrator
Stephen Johnson, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman,
Ambassador to China Clark Randt, and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
"We have had the genuine feeling that some American friends not only have a
limited knowledge of, but harbour much misunderstanding about, the reality in
China," Wu told US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who led the American
"The dialogue is conducive to enhancing trust and dispelling suspicion to
strengthen the dialogue between China and the United States in the economic
field," Wu said.
Led by Wu and Paulson, more than 20 senior policy makers from Beijing and
Washington started the two-day meeting in the Great Hall of the People.
In her keynote speech, Wu pledged that China would continue reforms and
broaden the level of opening-up by improving the legal and policy system and
strengthening protection of intellectual property rights.
She elaborated on China's adherence to peaceful development, reform and
"China's development will not pose any threat; it offers opportunities to the
world," Wu said.
She said China is rapidly increasing imports to offset the trade surplus with
the US and strive for a trade balance.
Paulson said he agreed with Wu that the US needs to better understand China's
drive to reform its economy.
"But having said that, there's certain things that there's plenty of
understanding on," he said after the first day of talks.
"There's no lack of understanding about currency flexibility or intellectual
property and those kinds of issues."
While describing the talks as "productive and informative interchanges," he
said it was not reasonable to expect that, after only two days of talks,
concrete agreements would be announced.
"It wouldn't be much of a dialogue if you could come in and, in two days, sit
down and announce major breakthroughs," he said.
"The kinds of issues we are working on are ones that are very fundamental and
very long-term," the US treasury chief said.
Paulson said that when the talks wind up today, they might be able to set out
"work plans" to move forward on resolving some of the economic issues that each
sees as important.
Five special discussion sessions have been scheduled during the dialogue,
focusing on such issues as balanced development in urban and rural areas,
sustainable development, trade, investment, energy and the environment.
The dialogue comes at a time when the China-US trade relationship enters a
more complicated stage with the five-year interim period after China's WTO
accession coming to an end on December 11. That means China would face more
intense foreign competition in various fields.
"That's why China and the US are holding the strategic economic dialogue at
this time," said Yan Xuetong, a researcher with Tsinghua University. "The
dialogue will help avoid the escalation of trade disputes."
Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Trade Research Institute of the Ministry of
Commerce, added: "The significance lies in enhancing mutual understanding and
identifying long-term, strategic principles that the two countries share."
Lu Feng, an economics professor at Peking University, said it is a wise move
for Beijing and Washington to sit down and get to know each other's concerns.
The talks would have positive effects on pushing forward trade and investment
and break down barriers, Lu said.
Ma Zhen'gang, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said
the frequent high-level exchanges between the two sides help develop common
Speaking to about 500 students of the Graduate University of the Chinese
Academy of Sciences yesterday at the Chinese Sciences and Humanities Forum, Ma
said China and the United States now see their relations and common interests as
more intertwined than ever before.
No one can deny that Sino-US trade is mutually complementary and beneficial,
"If the bilateral trade benefited only one side, it would not have sustained
such a dramatic growth in the past few years," Ma said.
The US delegation is the highest-profile economic mission the United States
has sent to China, and includes the cabinet secretaries of commerce, labour,
energy and health and human services as well as Trade Representative Susan
Schwab and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, who is paying his
first visit to the country.
Agencies, Xinhua contributed to the story
(China Daily 12/15/2006 page1)