China, US vow to promote healthy economic relations

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Senior Chinese and US officials have vowed to promote healthy economic and trade relations between their countries, saying the ties are the basis of steady development of the overall relationship.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan held talks with his American counterparts on a series of trade issues, Chinese officials said.

During the talks, Zhong said since the establishment of diplomatic relationship 30 years ago, China and the United States have had more converging interests. The two countries have strengthened strategic mutual trust, widened the basis for cooperation and deepened interdependency.

He emphasized that sound and stable China-U.S. economic and trade relations are in line with the fundamental interests of both countries.

Both China and the United States should stick to a strategic and long-term approach to the economic and trade ties and appropriately handle trade frictions through communication and consultation, said the Chinese official.

The two sides should make joint efforts to deepen the bilateral economic and trade cooperation, actively seek and expand convergences of interests and promote bilateral economic and trade ties, he stressed.

Zhong's visit came amid growing pressure from Washington on China's revaluation of its currency, the renminbi (RMB).

Under the pressure of mid-term elections and a high unemployment rate, some U.S. senators last week proposed legislation to press China to appreciate its currency.

The bill requires the U.S. Treasury Department to identify countries with "fundamentally misaligned currencies" and asks the Commerce Department to investigate currency undervaluation as a "countervailing subsidy."

Meanwhile, 130 U.S. congressmen wrote to the Obama administration, demanding actions to appreciate the RMB against the dollar.

Zhong said that simply citing China's trade surplus with the United States, some U.S. congressmen and scholars concluded China is manipulating its currency and then forced China to appreciate it. "This kind of reasoning is invalid," he said.

In a speech delivered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Zhong emphasized that the appreciation of the Chinese currency is not "a good recipe" for solving the U.S.-China trade deficit.

"We believe in the need for reasonable stability not only on the RMB, but also on the U.S. currency policy," said the Chinese trade official.

"A dip in dollar value will undoubtedly bring great repercussions to the global financial system and the world economy," said Zhong. "It is in nobody's interest, China's, the U.S.' or other countries', to see big ups in the RMB or big downs in the dollar."

During the talks, Zhong repeatedly called on the U.S. side to take joint efforts with China to deal with the trade imbalance.

"When we talk about trade imbalance, there's no turning away from an old issue," he said, referring to the U.S. export control policy against China. The export control, Zhong said, is "a typical legacy of the Cold War."

"It is not only unfair to China but also has seriously constrained the export of the most competitive U.S. products to China," said Zhong.

As a result, U.S. companies have missed business opportunities in the Chinese market.

China will take measures to import more products from the United States, while the United States should also take concrete actions to change its export control measures against China, achieving a reasonable trade balance on the basis of mutual benefits, Zhong said.

He insisted that trade issues between the two countries should be resolved through communication and consultation.

He hoped the two sides could fully take advantage of the existing dialogue channels and cooperation frameworks to increase communication, consultation and cooperation.

Both China and the United States "should take constructive measures to deal with the problems that concern both sides, to resolve the disputes and to avoid the escalation of trade frictions," he said.

During meetings with Zhong, U.S. officials agreed that healthy economic and trade relations are the basis of steady development of the overall relationship between the two countries.

At present, the U.S. government is implementing a National Export Initiative, and China will be the most important market for the United States to meet its exporting targets, according to the U.S. officials.

They said the Obama administration is reviewing and reforming its export control policy.

The U.S. government also believes that the escalation of trade frictions is not in line with the common interests of the two countries and that increasing consultation is beneficial for solving the problem, they said, adding that the two countries should maintain communication and make joint efforts to fight protectionism.

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