Trade Minister: US refused to sell copters to China

10:17, March 22, 2010      

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China was forced to buy helicopter parts from Russia, which are needed for disaster rescue work after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, because of U.S. restrictions on technology exports to Beijing, commerce minister Chen Deming said.

Chen said to the annual China Development Forum in Beijing over the weekend that he once contacted the U.S. Commerce Department on buying helicopter engines to aid rescue efforts after the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, but was told to wait for permission from the defense ministry.

Chen never heard back, and China bought Russian engines instead, later.

The minister also said he scrapped plans for a few large-scale purchasing delegations to the U.S. this year because what companies wanted to buy wasn't what the U.S. was willing to sell. Chen didn't give further details on what China wanted to buy.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao also complained in mid March that US' ban of selling high-tech products to China in the past years had exacerbated the trade unbalance between the two countries.

Tensions over China's currency and trade surplus are mounting, with the Obama administration facing increased calls from American lawmakers to step up pressure on the Chinese yuan. The Treasury Department is to decide next month whether to label China as a "currency manipulator".

But, Chen indicated that Beijing could resort to tougher trade policies towards the U.S., if Washington lists China as a "currency manipulator" in April and impose trade sanctions on Chinese goods.

People's Daily Online
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