China tries to cut trade surplus with US
Updated: 2006-03-07 20:28
China pledged on Tuesday to try to reduce its trade surplus with the United
States but said Washington had to play its part by relaxing export curbs.
"China is not pursuing a trade surplus. We are willing, and will continue, to
take active measures to gradually resolve the issue of imbalanced trade,"
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told a news conference.
China is under pressure to act to reduce the surplus, which Washington put at
$201.6 billion in 2005 and Beijing at $114.2 billion, ahead of a visit to
Washington in April by President Hu Jintao.
The U.S. Treasury is also due to rule next month on whether China is
deliberately manipulating its currency to gain an unfair export advantage -- a
charge levelled by U.S. manufacturers who are losing market share to cheap
Li said the reasons for the surplus were complicated and urged Washington not
to politicise the issue.
A number of U.S. lawmakers are threatening to introduce bills that would
punish China for perceived unfair trading if it does not reduce its deficit and
open its markets wider to U.S. goods.
Li hoped the administration of President George W. Bush would oppose the
legislation, which he said would hurt Sino-American economic and trade
The two capitals should solve any problems by abiding by the rules of the
World Trade Organisation, he added.
Li renewed Beijing's objection to U.S. curbs on the export of high-technology
equipment that China would like to buy.
"Apart from selling Boeing aircraft to China, the U.S. is only willing to
sell us soybeans, cotton, Californian wine, oranges and a few other things," he
Some of the things China would like to buy come under the category of
dual-use goods that have both civilian and military applications.
"We hope the U.S. side treats China's concerns seriously and relaxes its
restrictions on high-tech exports," he said.
Warming to his theme, Li raised the cup of tea he had in front of him. "If I
drink this, it's for civilian use. If a soldier drinks it, it's for military
use," he said to laughter.