Government and Policy

Wen urges end to trade scraps

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-01 09:22
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China does not want 2010 to be "an un-peaceful year" for trade and economic relations with the United States, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Saturday, hoping that Sino-US trade disputes will ease with efforts from both sides.

Wen made the remarks while answering questions concerning recent trade disputes between China and the United States, in an online interview on Saturday through the websites of the central government and Xinhua News Agency.

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Disputes, ranging from exchange rate concerns to trade deficits, between the two nations have risen after the global financial crisis pressured both economies from late 2008.

US President Barack Obama said earlier this month he would be much tougher with China on exchange rates and trade, in order to ensure that the price of US goods was "not artificially inflated."

The US has imposed duties on a number of Chinese imports in recent months. In the latest move, the US this week imposed preliminary duties ranging from 11 to 13 percent on steel pipes from China.

Wen urged both sides to open their markets to each other, which would eventually ease the trade surplus and build a sustainable trade relationship.

"China indeed has a trade surplus with the United States, but that is not the goal of China," Wen said. "Our goal is to achieve a basic balance of international payments."

In 2009, China saw a trade surplus of $143.4 billion with the United States, its second largest trading partner, down 16.2 percent from a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Total trade volume between China and the United States stood at $298.3 billion in the same period.

Wen noted that bilateral trade should be balanced and sustainable, and trade disputes between the two countries should be resolved through "negotiations on an equal footing," not sanctions.

"In particular, the United States should acknowledge China's market economy status and open up the exports of hi-tech products to China," he said.

The United States has strictly controlled hi-tech exports to China. In 2007, it imposed restrictions on 31 hi-tech export items to China, including airplane parts and underwater photographic equipment.

"In fact, if the United States loosens restrictions over the exports of some hi-tech products to China, the bilateral trade surplus will narrow," Wen said.

"You should not just let the Chinese always eat beans on airplanes," Wen added jokingly.

China Daily - Xinhua