The high-level Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) between the United States and China has played "a constructive role" in US-China relations which are "important to world peace and prosperity", James A. Dorn, vice president for academic affairs of the Cato Institute said recently.
The fourth round of SED, first launched in December 2006, will be held on June 17-18 in the United States.
"The SED has played a constructive role in US-Sino relations by taking a longer run view of current issues, and countering the China bashing that too often characterizes Congressional hearings," Dorn, who is also a China expert at the Washington-based think tank, said in an interview with Xinhua.
"By considering long-run costs and benefits of policy alternatives, the SED has grounded US-China relations in reality rather than rhetoric," he said.
Progress has been made on product safety issues through the dialogue between Washington and Beijing, he said, and irresponsible policies such as imposing a heavy duty on all Chinese imports unless the yuan is revalued upward by a considerable amount against the dollar have been avoided.
"This SED is important because, as (China's) Assistant Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao said, "It is the first time ... to make a discussion of economic relations over the next 10 years a central part of the agenda."
With a new administration and Congress after the November elections, the "vision" of US-China relations could change, Dorn said.
"However, the US-China policy of engagement has worked, and the overall Sino-US relation is too important to world peace and prosperity to veer off the long-run course of mutually beneficial engagement," he added.
The United States must recognize China as a normal rising power and frankly recognize the "peaceful development" that China has pursued since opening to the outside in 1978, said Dorn, who has often visited China since 1988.
Thirty years of economic liberalization has brought about a significant increase in the standard of living, he added.
"The US needs to encourage a continuation of economic liberalization and not see China as an inevitable enemy," he said.
Outlining the goals of the upcoming SED meeting, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said last week that intensive dialogue "is more productive than protectionist policies".
Dorn agreed with his remarks, saying that "A US protectionist stance would be economic suicide."
Free trade is mutually beneficial but protectionism is not, he noted, saying that catering to special interests in the United States or in China impede the free flow of goods and services.