On last leg of trip, leader pushes for trade

Updated: 2012-02-17 15:14

By Wu Jiao and Wang Jun (China Daily)

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LOS ANGELES - Trade between China and the United States is expected to exceed $500 billion this year, said Vide-President Xi Jinping who is visiting the US economic hub in a bid to promote trade.

Addressing a dinner of leading overseas Chinese businesspeople on Thursday in Los Angeles, Xi said bilateral trade between the two countries grew 180 times from $2.5 billion around 1980s to $446 billion last year.

"The figure is further expected to exceed $500 billion this year", said Xi, stressing trade has been the most striking factor between the two countries since the duo established diplomatic ties more than 30 years ago.

When Xi spoke on Wednesday in Washington, he said trade delegations sent by China had purchased more than $100 billion of goods from the United States every year from 2006-11, while US exports to China have grown by almost 5 times during the past 10 years.

Xi's visit to Los Angeles, the last leg of his five-day visit to the US, focused heavily on trade and local cooperation. His official delegation toured the China Shipping terminal at the Port of Los Angeles immediately after landing in the City of Angels at noon on Thursday.

Xi is scheduled speak at the China-US Economic Trade Forum on Friday and participate in other events focused on trade and investment.

He will be joined again by US Vice-President Joe Biden, who has been his formal host during his time in the US.

Xi will conclude his visit with a professional basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

China's Deputy Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, who is accompanying Xi during the visit, estimated that traveling Chinese trade and investment delegations in the US alongside Xi's visit would buy $27.1 billion of US goods, including silicon chips, electronic materials, equipment and machinery as well as farm produce.

Trade tensions between the two economies have sometimes caused some ruffled feathers, especially as US President Barack Obama seeks to accelerate economic growth during a re-election year.

Gao said both countries should make efforts to address the trade deficit.

Xi, during his Washington speech, called on the US to adjust its economic policies and end restrictions on high-tech exports to China.

Xi also spoke at a dinner Thursday night that included a large contingent from the Chinese delegation and members of the local Chinese-American community. He said local cooperation has always been the foundation for strong bilateral ties.

There are now 4.3 million people of Chinese heritage living in the US, the biggest number of all Asian-Americans.

Xi urged Americans to seize the chance of China's development and contribute to the trade and cultural links between the two countries.

Sue Zhang, president of the Roundtable of Chinese American Organizations who was attended the dinner on Thursday, said since Los Angeles is one of the cities that hub the largest number of Chinese in North America, there has always been a strong tie between the region and China.

Southern California has one of the largest Chinese communities in the United States with more than 360,000 people.

Stephen Sham, the newly elected president of Chinese-American Elected Officials, an organization of elected officials of Chinese descent in Southern California, said Xi's visit to the Southland is a recognition of the importance the area plays in the Sino-US relationship, and a recognition of Chinese-Americans living here.

Sham, who's also mayor of Alhambra, plans to travel to Sanya, a sister-city of Alhambra, in the near future to promote collaboration between the two cities in next year's Rose Parade, a traditional way to celebrate New Year's Day in the US that started in 1890.

China Daily