U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stressed Wednesday the economic interdependence between the United States and China, and warned against rising protectionist sentiment.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Third China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), Paulson said, "There is hardly an issue- from trade, to product safety to climate change - where American and Chinese economic interests do not overlap."
The U.S.-China relationship has become central to each nation's interest and to maintaining a stable, secure and prosperous global system, he said.
Paulson echoed a renewed call against politicizing trade issues by Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, who co-chaired the dialogue.
"Neither China nor the United States can protect our way to further prosperity. We must resist attempts to reduce transparency or increase regulatory obstacles in order to protect domestic industries," Paulson said.
Vice Premier Wu had voiced her concern to Paulson about the 50 protectionist China-related bills introduced in the U.S. Congress, which she said would "severely undermine U.S. business ties with China" if they were adopted.
"Taking short-term, politically expedient actions will almost certainly impede our long-term prosperity and ability to address long-term strategic issues," Paulson said.
He said the Bush Administration also has consistently opposed protectionist legislation directed at China. "A U.S. economy, which is open to foreign investment and trade and welcomes competition, has always been in our nation's best interest."
Paulson spoke favorably of the SED mechanism, saying the talks have produced agreements that may not otherwise have been reached.
"We have built stronger relationships and established new, constructive channels of communication...I am confident we can accomplish more," he said.