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China, US kick off trade talks

2012-12-19 09:08 Global Times     Web Editor: Wang Fan comment

China and the US on Tuesday launched their first trade talks after the presidential elections in the US and the leadership transition in China's ruling party in November.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan will co-chair the 23rd China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Washington with trade representative Ron Kirk and US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank.

"Mutual commerce and trade retaliations between China and the US have been increasing in recent years. This general trend will not change given the structural contradiction of the Chinese and US economies," said He Maochun, director of the Research Center for Economic Diplomacy Studies at Tsinghua University.

The annual JCCT meeting comes during a transition period for both governments. US President Barack Obama will usher in a new economic team in his second term, and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is expected to take over as head of state in March.

China's ministry of commerce spokesman Shen Danyang has said that Wang's visit will deliver the new Chinese leadership's "positive hope" to further strengthen the China-US trade relationship.

However, Chinese businesses in the US are being hampered by political reviews by the US side citing national security concerns, Shen told a press conference on Tuesday.

The Chinese delegation will also address concerns over US restrictions on high-technology exports to China and intellectual property rights protection during the two-day talks in Washington, Shen said.

Wang is also expected to convey Beijing's strong interest in a deal in Washington to avoid the $600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes set to take hold at the start of next year, widely known as the "fiscal cliff." Failure to avoid that outcome could send the US back into recession, which would threaten growth in China, Reuters said.

In turn, the US is looking for actions from China to remove market-access barriers blocking US meat and other farm products, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who will also take part in the JCCT meeting, said last week.

It is very important to send clear messages to each other in this crucial period during which Beijing and Washington are examining each other and scanning for any possible policy changes along with personnel changes in the government, said Qin Yaqing, deputy head of the Chinese Foreign Affairs University.

"Leaders in both countries need timely delivery of information and communication," Qin added.

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