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US Commerce, Labor Secretaries Visit China

Premier Wen Jiabao told visiting US Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao that China and the United States continue to share varied common interests and have a basis of cooperation.

The stable development of Sino-US relations is in the basic interest of both sides and also conducive to peace and development in the world, Wen said during the Tuesday meeting in Beijing.

Wen said the two countries should strengthen bilateral cooperation, appropriately deal with mutual concerns and push for the advancement of "constructive and cooperative relations."

Evans told Wen the United States is willing to strengthen economic and trade cooperation with China through constructive dialogue.

The commerce secretary started his visit on Monday, touring Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, before flying to Beijing.

Evans' visit to China comes on the heels of the China-US Joint Committee of Trade meeting in Washington, where Evans and Vice Premier Wu Yi discussed the importance of compliance to avoid disputes and amplify positive signals to investors and other trading partners.

Eight members of the President's Export Council joined Evans during the Beijing leg of the trip for high-level meetings with senior Chinese officials. They are discussing ways to increase US exports to China, according to a statement released by the US Embassy in Beijing.

On Monday, Chinese and US officials signed four letters of understanding to broaden cooperation in the areas of labor, employment and workplace safety.

"Secretary Chao's visit and the four signed agreements represent the US Department of Labor's most comprehensive engagement with China on labor issues ever," said a US Embassy statement.

Chao told Wen the four agreements lay a foundation for future cooperation between the nations that should strengthen exchanges in labor and social security.

"These agreements are the next step in the department's ongoing engagement with China and include collaboration on several important labor issues involving mine safety, workplace safety, wages and pensions," Chao said.

(China Daily June 23, 2004)

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