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Sino-US Trade Balance Highlighted: Premier

China wants to strengthen economic and trade cooperation with the United States to boost economic development of both sides and of the world as a whole.

Premier Wen Jiabao made these remarks when meeting with visiting US Commerce Secretary Don Evans in Beijing Tuesday.

Wen proposed working gradually towards the realization of a China-US trade balance.

"China will take measures to expand imports from the United States, and we are also looking forward to the United States granting China status of market economy and relaxing trade restrictions," Wen said.

For a solution to the problems existing in the development of this relationship, Wen favored negotiations conducted on equal terms, which should nurture healthy and smooth progress and eventually bring about a solution that is advantageous to both sides.

Yu Guangzhou, vice-minister of commerce, also had a fruitful discussion with Evans on expanded co-operation in the area of economics and trade.

He said China hopes to bring about a balance in exports and imports and has made great efforts to bring this about.

"We will encourage local companies to purchase in the United States and to try to expand imports from the United States," Yu said.

In order to achieve the goal, Yu wants the United States to expand the range of products that can be exported to China.

The United States has long-standing bans on exports to China of a range of products, including those connected with information technology.

"China is willing to work jointly with the United States to shrink the trade imbalance," the vice-minister said.

Yu believes that Chinese exports to the United States, which in total value amount to only 1 percent of the total US gross domestic product, could not have any significant effect on the employment situation in the United States.

Evans welcomed the suggestion by Yu, saying that he expected officials of the two sides to engage in detailed negotiation in the future.

He is optimistic about settling the current problems in bilateral economic and trade development.

According to Chinese statistics, bilateral trade volume between the two nations reached US$90.98 billion in the first nine months this year, a 29.9 percent rise year-on-year.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue commented trade development between China and the United States has been "good and healthy in general" at yesterday's regular press briefing.

In response to US criticism of China's trade practices, Zhang said: "The Sino-US trade deficit is actually not that large," adding the United States had a favorable trade balance with China for the 21 years from 1972 to 1993 and its trade deficit with China only appeared after 1996.

According to China's own statistical calculations, the US trade deficit with China is smaller than US calculations make it, she said, though she did not elaborate.

(China Daily October 29, 2003)

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