China, US sign US$10.6b deals
A Ministry of Commerce delegation sent to the United States to press for an end to protectionism in bilateral trade came away with 32 contracts worth US$10.6 billion.
In a meeting with newly appointed Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in Washington, Commerce Minister Chen Deming urged the US to resist protectionism, which the mainland leader said had seriously tested Sino-US trade ties.
Mr Chen, who said protectionism would not restore economic growth, also said there were signs that the global consumer slump had stabilised, noting the decline in mainland exports had slowed in the first 20 days of this month.
Mr Chen made four proposals to deepen co-operation between the two nations - resolving trade disputes by using co-operative mechanisms, ensuring fair trade, proceeding with the Doha round of trade negotiations, and expanding areas of co-operation into high technology, finance, bio-technology, information technology, energy, pharmaceuticals and environmental industries.
He also pushed the US to relax restrictions on mainland exports, provide a level playing field for trade, build mutual trust and fairly execute American's economic rescue measures. The latter was a reference to protectionist measures linked to the US economic stimulus package.
'The two countries should sail on the same boat, sailing through difficult economic times, keeping markets open for each other and supporting enterprises of both sides to expand co-operation,' Mr Chen said.
Mr Locke said the Obama administration would pay close attention to fostering bilateral relations through trade and market opening up.
Mr Chen also met Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
Trade friction between the two nations intensified when Congress added a 'buy American' clause to its economic rescue package and decided to launch anti-dumping and anti-government subsidy probes into Chinese-made tyres and oil pipes.
Mr Chen wrote in an opinion piece in the Asian Wall Street Journal that US trade measures against China were on the rise and would 'seriously test' Sino-US economic and trade relations.
Despite the disagreements, Mr Chen's delegation signed 32 deals worth US$10.6 billion, covering telecommunications, cars, consumer products and information-technology services.
China Telecom Corp signed contracts with US firms Cisco, Microsoft Corp, Dell, Emerson and Alcatel-Lucent. China Mobile contracted with Hewlett-Packard, Alcatel-Lucent, Oracle Corp and Cisco. China Construction Bank Corp, Amway and Ford Motor also signed contracts.
Mr Chen said the deals underlined China's 'unequivocal' opposition to protectionism.