Senior Chinese and US officials on Tuesday vowed to improve trade ties to create a "positive atmosphere" for the upcoming meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush in Washington next month.
"The two commerce ministries should work together to ensure the success of the 17th meeting of the Sino-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade," Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi told visiting US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.
"Only in this way can we promote the sound and stable development of Sino-US trade and create a positive atmosphere for President Hu's visit to the US," she said during their meeting in Zhongnanhai.
Sino-US trade hit US$212 billion last year, and China has become the US' fourth largest export market and third largest trade partner.
However, further improvements can be made.
Wu stressed that China will continue to strive to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) and reduce the US trade deficit by increasing the volume of US imports.
"There is great potential for the development of Sino-US trade, which is in line with the common interests of the two countries and the two peoples," she said.
Gutierrez said he hopes the two sides can reach a consensus during the 17th meeting of the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, which will be held on the eve of the meeting between Presidents Bush and Hu.
He appreciated China's efforts in IPR protection and hoped it would continue such efforts.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also met with Gutierrez on Tuesday afternoon.
Gutierrez arrived in the southwestern Chinese municipality of Chongqing on Monday to start his China tour.
He held talks with his Chinese counterpart Bo Xilai in Beijing earlier on Tuesday and will meet with other Chinese officials on Wednesday.
(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2006)