China and the US reaffirmed their commitment yesterday to promoting strong and balanced economic development and prosperity by pursing Beijing's exchange rate regime reform and increasing Washington's national savings.
The two sides also agreed to let the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ open offices in China while Washington will support China's membership in the Inter-American Development Bank. No timetable has been mentioned yet.
The agreements were announced at the end of the one-and-half-day high-level Sino-US economic strategic dialogue, co-chaired by Vice Premier Wu Yi and US Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson. It focused on overarching and long-term strategic economic issues.
Through the discussions, the two sides decided to prioritize work during the next six months in areas including service sectors, health care, energy and the environment.
The two governments also pledged to explore the possibility of a bilateral investment agreement and easing of travel restrictions.
Both sides concluded an agreement facilitating financing to support US exports to China and agreed to re-launch bilateral air service negotiations beginning in January 2007.
The second session of the dialogue will be held in Washington next May.
While meeting with the US delegation, which is composed of almost half of US President George W. Bush's cabinet, President Hu Jintao said he hoped the two countries would take full advantage of the new platform to make the strategic dialogue an efficient mechanism for communication.
He said the dialogue would not only push forward bilateral economic cooperation but also bring positive effects for the stable growth of regional and world economies.
Calling the US delegation the highest-profile economic mission the US has ever sent to China, Premier Wen Jiabao said this fact proves that Sino-US economic cooperation is not only mutually beneficial but important.
Wen noted that the dialogue has aroused wide attention from the international community as both the EU and Japan have shown their interest in launching similar events.
He said the maintenance and advancement of Sino-US economic ties require a strategic perspective, which features principles of "development, equality and mutual benefit."
Paulson, the special representative of President Bush, welcomed Wen's remarks, saying the dialogue is of historic significance.
He said the US side has learned a lot from discussions with their Chinese counterparts and has received a better understanding of Beijing's positions.
He made commitments to Wen to work together with the country to push forward bilateral economic relations.
At a joint press briefing yesterday, Wu Yi said the talks helped enhance mutual trust and understanding between the two countries while boosting bilateral trade and economic relations.
Wu said the two sides had not seen eye to eye on every issue but that was understandable given completely different economic situations and values.
She said it is important to take a positive attitude toward differences, and urged the two countries to seek common ground while putting the disputes aside and taking each others' concerns into consideration.
Describing the discussion as "very frank and productive," Paulson said the bilateral economic relationship is best when it produces benefits for both countries, noting that balanced sustainable growth in China is vital to the strength of the global economy.
"We will each take measures to address global imbalances, notably through greater national savings in the US and through increased domestic consumption and exchange rate flexibility in China, and maintaining open investment in both countries," he said in the joint press briefing.
(China Daily December 16, 2006)