China and the United States might see more opportunities for trade by boosting joint energy development, Minister of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Ma Kai said Tuesday.
"There could be great potential and fat opportunities for both countries in improving coal efficiency and promoting clean energy," Ma said ahead of the high-profile China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue, which opens Wednesday.
Ma urged two sides to find new ways for joint energy development, saying the United States had advanced technologies and experience to improve coal efficiency and develop clean energy, which were valuable to China.
The Chinese government had been promoting the use of a variety of cleaner energy sources to reduce its reliance on coal, as well improving its energy efficiency and pollutant control.
His remarks also came as the two countries signed a slew of agreements, including pacts on energy cooperation, at the 18th China-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) Tuesday.
One of the 14 documents was a memorandum of understanding on cooperation of biofuel development signed by the NDRC and the U.S. departments of agriculture and energy.
"As two of the world's largest consumers of oil, this document may help reduce each country's dependence on imported oil, benefiting both U.S. and Chinese consumers," the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a statement released at the JCCT.
Ma said earlier Tuesday that the Chinese side would work out executive plans, and wished to start work soon.
China is promoting development of biofuels with financial support, as the country saw biofuels as environmental-friendly energy sources.
Ma hoped both countries would also launch initiatives "as soon as possible" to implement a memorandum of understanding signed in September, which outlines cooperation in upgrading industrial energy efficiency.
Tuesday's JCCT also saw U.S. firm Peabody Energy become an equity partner in China's "GreenGen" project, the country's first near-zero emissions coal-fueled power plant with carbon capture and storage.
Ma said the NDRC had drawn up a guideline with dozens of suggestions on cooperation in power generation, coal, petroleum and natural gas, renewable energy, as well as energy conservation and environmental protection, in a bid to boost joint energy development.
"Joint energy development between the two countries would be mutually beneficial," he said, adding it would not only help China improve energy consumption structure, reduce greenhouse emissions and cut pollutant discharges, but could also bring commercial benefits to the U.S. side.
The commission said China would lift the proportion of renewable energy consumption to about 10 percent by 2010, and to 20 percent by 2020.
China would focus on development of hydropower, bio-mass energy, wind power and solar power in the future, according to a medium and long-term plan for renewable energy published by the NDRC in September.
Almost 70 percent of China's energy use came from coal in 2006,with other forms of energy each accounting for a tiny proportion.