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AmCham upbeat on talks
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US investors in China are optimistic about the ongoing strategic economic dialogue and are looking forward to greater access to the Chinese market, said the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

James M. Zimmerman, chairman of AmCham, said US investors are "as optimistic as we can be" about Sino-US economic relations and believe any bilateral trade problems should be solved through consultation and dialogues such as SED.

China and the US are expected to reach an agreement on energy and environment issues at the high-level meeting chaired by Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

If a concrete agreement is reached and properly implemented with proper market access, it would bring opportunities for US companies that provide services in these sectors, said Zimmerman.

The ongoing SED is seen as the last session under the Bush administration since it was initiated by Paulson two years ago. Zimmerman expects the dialogue will continue in the next administration, no matter who becomes the president.

"I believe China is important for all candidates, and I believe that a good economic relation is good both for China and the US," said Zimmerman. "Whoever takes the office will realize that China is important and we need to engage with China."

The US is China's second largest trading partner. Bilateral trade has been developing fast, reaching $302 billion in 2007, up 15 percent year-on-year.

But trade conflicts are also on the rise. The US had initiated 129 anti-dumping investigations into Chinese products by 2007. "There is an increase of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on Chinese products in the US, and trade protectionism is getting fiercer," said a recent report on foreign trade by China's Ministry of Commerce.

Zimmerman called for more dialogue between the two countries in face of these issues and said trade disputes need to be solved through legal procedures.

"Trade tension is not limited to US and China, it occurs between other trade partners as well. Both parties need to work through it and dialogue is always the best option."

The opening up of the financial market has been one of the major issues in previous SED sessions. Zimmerman said US investors are looking for a wider market access, in the financial sector in particular. "We are willing to work with China for the timing."

(China Daily June 17, 2008)

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