Wang Qishan

Economic summit to focus on stability

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 June, 2008, 12:00am

China-US dialogue 'to seek long-term vision'

Top negotiators from China and the United States will pledge closer co-operation to deal with global uncertainties arising from the US credit crunch and worldwide inflation when they meet next week for a biannual dialogue, diplomats said.

'Surging inflation that has recently threatened global economic stability, largely arising from soaring prices of oil and food, will top the agenda of the China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue next week,' Guo Xiangang , a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, a government think-tank affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.

The Chinese delegation will be headed for the first time by Vice- Premier Wang Qishan , a veteran financier with a reputation for problem-solving who has known the US' point man, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, for about a decade.

Mr Wang was promoted this year to be one of four vice-premiers, with responsibility for the financial industry and trade issues.

The meeting, the fourth such event, will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday in Annapolis, Maryland.

Diplomats said that leading the agenda would be the discussion of a 'vision' for Sino-US economic relations over the next decade. Beijing hopes to set a course for long-term relations as the US will have a new president next year.

Relations with China are likely to be an issue during the US presidential campaign, and Beijing is not sure whether President George W. Bush's successor will continue the policy of engagement and restrained criticism towards Beijing.

The two countries also plan to sign a framework agreement for broad co-operation on energy and environmental issues for the next 10 years, diplomats say.

Details of that agreement are still being discussed.

Professor Guo said he expected the two sides to issue a joint statement or speak at press briefings, calling for closer co-operation in dealing with global economic woes such as higher energy and food prices.

He said both sides would express their support for a stronger US dollar, which is still the pillar of global economic stability.

'A strong dollar would be of common interest to both the US and China, as a declining greenback would be partly to blame for the current worldwide inflation,' said Professor Guo, who is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Studies.

The two parties will discuss issues such as the yuan's exchange rate, trade and open markets, investment, and opportunities in energy and development.

In a speech this week, Mr Paulson said the dialogue would focus on five areas: managing financial and macroeconomic cycles; developing human capital; the benefits of trade and open markets; enhancing investment; and advancing joint opportunities for co-operation in energy and the environment.

Also, Chinese and US companies will sign a raft of business deals on Monday ahead of the talks, Reuters quoted a US business group as saying yesterday.

The US Chamber of Commerce said it would host the signing ceremony, which is expected to include about 20 deals. A chamber official said he did not know the total value of the contracts, but it would be a significant amount. Two or three of the deals were still being finalised.