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China, US Enhance Understanding Through Dialogue
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High-level economic officials from China and the United States wrapped up a two-day strategic dialogue in Washington D. C. on Wednesday and both sides agreed that the talks have enhanced mutual understanding with much consensus and a wide variety of tangible results.

The Second Meeting of US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and US Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson, was held against the background of rapid growth of bilateral trade and rising protectionism in the United States.

Business and trade ties between the two countries, which have become each other's second largest trading partner, have been complicated by recent US attempts to politicize trade issues and blame China for its domestic problems that arise as the US adjusts its economic structure to respond to challenges posed by economic globalization.

Leaders of both countries, therefore, have attached great importance to the dialogue. In a phone talk conducted on the eve of the SED, Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush exchanged views on how to promote trade and strengthen constructive cooperation between the two countries through the dialogue mechanism.

During the two-day closed-door talks in Washington, top economic officials from the two countries, including dozens of cabinet ministers, discussed topics covering areas of service, investment and transparency, energy and environment, as well as growth balance and innovation.

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

Under an aviation agreement reached Wednesday, daily passenger flights from the U.S. to China will double by 2012, and air cargo companies will have virtually unlimited access to Chinese market by 2011.

The two countries also 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 will provide policy incentives to promote the full commercialization of advanced coal technologies and will advance commercial use of carbon capture and storage technologies.

On the front of the tourism industry, the two countries agreed to launch negotiations to facilitate Chinese group leisure travel to the U.S.

"With the great attention and joint efforts from both sides, the second meeting of the strategic dialogue achieved great success," Vice Premier Wu, who is also here as special envoy of President Hu, said in a concluding statement on Wednesday.

"China-US economic and trade relationship is one of the most complicated in today's world," she said. "The SED provided an excellent ground and opportunity for both sides to enhance the mutual understanding and increased the mutual trust on the strategic issues."

Meanwhile, the Chinese vice premier warned against the rising protectionism in the United States. "It calls for direct consultation and dialogue between us, instead of easy resort to threat or sanctions," she said.

In his concluding statement, Paulson hailed the dialogue as "very productive," saying that both sides agree on "many issues" and also have achieved tangible results which are like "signposts" on the long-term strategic road.

"The United States and China understand that getting our economic relationship right is vital not only to our people, but to the world economy," said Paulson, also as special envoy of President Bush.

Both countries also agreed that "strengthening and deepening our two-way trading relationship will create jobs and give our citizens a wider variety of choices and lower prices on goods," he added.

"We have built strong relationships since our inaugural meeting in Beijing," said the secretary, referring to the first SED held in Beijing in December last year. He emphasized that the relationships between the two countries will "continue to grow stronger and produce on-going returns."

The SED mechanism was initiated by President Hu and President Bush to serve as a platform for the two sides to discuss long-term and strategic issues in bilateral trade relationship. The dialogue convenes twice a year, in Beijing and Washington respectively. The next or third SED will be held in Beijing in December.

(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2007)

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