US can cut trade deficit with hi-tech exports: lawyer

09:27, May 12, 2010      

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The US trade deficit will decline if the country starts exporting hi-tech goods to China, a senior Sino-US trade expert said Tuesday.

Edward J. Krauland, a partner with Steptoe & Johnson, made the comments at a press conference on the opening of the US-based law firm's Beijing office.

The US international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $39.7 billion in February 2010 from $37.0 billion in January, as imports increased more than exports. In 2009, US trade with China recorded a deficit of $226.83 billion.

Meanwhile China's General Administration of Customs revealed trade growth figures Tuesday. Increased exports and slowing imports brought China's April trade surplus to $1.68 billion, down 87 percent from a year ago, while in March the trade deficit was $7.24 bil-lion, the first monthly deficit in the past six years.

China could possibly see a trade deficit in the future and surpass its 2010 trade surplus reduction target, based on the most recent trade data released by the government. Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian has said China planned to reduce its 2009 trade surplus by $100 billion.

Taking into account figures from the January-April period and the unlikelihood of an increase in export prices, it is possible the trade surplus could decrease by even more than that in 2010.

"Over the last five years, there were big efforts by the Chinese Commerce Ministry and the US Department of Commerce to work together on issues of export control and hi-technology to promote the trade relationships, such as in the areas of aerospace industry, semi-conductor technology and industrial automation," Krauland said.

"We are going to see an increase in the level of trade, including US exports…in these industries."

However, Krauland said some obstacles remain.

"Greater transparency in the Chinese economy, the ways businesses are organized and certain Chinese regulatory areas like intellectual property protections are going to play an important role along with export control reform in the type of trade we all would like to see in the two countries," he said.

Last month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported China's first quarter GDP increased 11.9 percent year-on-year to 8.06 trillion yuan ($1.19 trillion), the highest in two years, which "reflects continuous expansion in China while others shrank," according to Susan Esserman, a Steptoe & Johnson partner and a former deputy US trade representative in the Clinton administration.

NBS spokesman Li Xiaochao said the country's economy is "continuing on the road to recovery."

"The world economy has turned a corner, and China continues to lead the world economy," Esserman said.

Source: Global Times


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