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Backgrounder: China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue
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The fourth round of the China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) kicked off Tuesday in Annapolis of the U.S. state of Maryland.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, as special representative of Chinese President Hu Jintao, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, as special representative of U.S. President George W. Bush, co-chaired the two-day meeting.

The following is a brief introduction to the China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue:

The SED mechanism was initiated by President Hu and President Bush in 2006 to serve as a platform for the two sides to discuss long-term strategic issues in bilateral trade relations. The dialogue is held twice a year, in Beijing and Washington alternately.

The first strategic economic dialogue between China and the United States was held in Beijing in December 2006.

Former Vice Premier Wu Yi and U.S. Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson, as special representatives of the heads of state of the two countries respectively, co-chaired the dialogue.

The dialogue focused on China's path of development and its economic development strategy and the two sides reached agreements on such issues as promoting trade and investment, protecting the environment and maintaining sustainable development.

The second meeting of the China-U.S. SED, co-chaired by former Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and U.S. Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson was held in Washington in May 2007.

The two sides reached consensus on how to move forward in financial services, civil aviation, and energy and the environment, and signed a number of specific agreements.

In financial services, China would resume licensing securities companies in the second half of 2007, and before SED III, China would announce plans to gradually expand the business scope of qualified joint-venture securities companies to allow them to be engaged in securities brokerages, propriety trading and asset management.

The two countries agreed to work together as part of the WTO Doha negotiations to discuss reducing or eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services.

Moreover, the two countries would provide policy incentives to promote the full commercialization of advanced coal technologies and would advance commercial use of carbon capture and storage technologies.

The third China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue opened in Beijing in December 2007, attended by former Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, as special envoys of the two heads of state.

The two sides reached consensus on food safety, financial services, energy and the environment, transparency and rebalancing growth.

The two countries pledged to expand their dialogue and information-sharing on effective government oversight of exports of food, drugs, medical products, and consumer goods.

They also signed a memorandum of understanding on strengthening cooperation in the area of biomass resources conversion for fuel.

Moreover, both countries agreed to communicate on measures to address U.S.-China economic imbalances through dialogue and consultation, including discussions under the U.S.-China Joint Economic Committee.

(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2008)

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