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US$4.3b Deal Clinched to Narrow Trade Gap with US
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A Chinese business delegation has signed deals worth US$4.3-billion with US enterprises in a move to narrow the trade gap between the two countries and as a preparation for the upcoming Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue.

The Chinese delegation, headed by Vice-Minister of Commerce Ma Xiuhong, signed 27 contracts in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday (local time) for US high-tech and information products.

The contracts include Lenovo Group's agreement with Microsoft Corp to buy US$1.3 billion worth of Windows, Office and other software suites for its personal computers.

China's biggest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp's signed a deal to buy as much as US$1.86 billion worth of equipment from Applied Materials, Inc and five other companies over the next three years.

And Jiangxi Hongyuan Machinery agreed to pay about US$95 million for setting up a research and development center.

California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, according to the local media, called the contracts an "important step in furthering the deep relationship between this state, this country and China".

The procurement reflects China's determination to cut its trade surplus with the US that totalled more than US$144 billion last year.

The deals were struck only a couple of weeks before the second round of Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue, the highest-level economic and trade consultation platform, in Washington.

At the dialogue, to be co-chaired by Vice-Premier Wu Yi and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the two sides will discuss a wide range of subjects, from trade disputes to finance and aviation issues.

The deals signed in San Francisco were just the first part of procurement agreements between Chinese and US enterprises.

The Chinese delegation, comprising more than 300 executives from about 200 companies, is heading to Atlanta, Chicago and Washington for other procurement agreements.

The delegation members are expected to buy more US products, such as electronic and machinery equipment and agricultural products, worth about US$16 billion.

To underscore China's resolve to explore more US investments, executives from Chinese companies are meeting with their US counterparts in 24 cities across 23 states, Ma said.

(China Daily May 11, 2007)

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