China, US start trade dialogue

09:56, December 16, 2010      

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Top US and Chineseofficials Tuesday opened their annual trade talks in Washington amid persistent tensions over currency issues and allegations of trade protectionism.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, heading up a 100-strong delegation, met with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk in the 21st Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) meeting.

Issues covering investment, trade and intellectual property rights are set to dominate the agenda.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Tuesday that Beijing hoped the talks would see "an exchange of views on trade, investment, agriculture products quarantine, technological standards, intellectual property rights and bilateral cooperation in other areas in an in-depth manner."

Jiang added that China and the US should solve trade differences through candid dialogue and consultations.

The talks start only a day after a WTO ruling against China in a tire dispute with the US. An unnamed official at the Treaty and Law Department of China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) told Xinhua that China is concerned about the effect the tariff is having on the Chinese tire industry, and will be filing a complaint to defend the nation's tire-makers and exporters.

Washington has also claimed that Beijing is deliberately keeping its currency low to give Chinese products unfair advantages in the global market.

Prior to the trade talks, Wang met with US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and the Director of the US National Economic Council Lawrence Summers at the White House.

Agreement was reached on ramping up communication and enhancing mutual trust to jointly push forward a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US relationship, according to Xinhua.

However, in another blow to trade tensions, the US Senate added a restriction on Chinese poultry products entering the US in a spending bill, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Under the bill, the US Agriculture Department (USDA) would be unable to improve imports of processed poultry or poultry products from China unless several steps were met, including a plan for stepped-up inspection of the imports.

USDA would also be required to inspect Chinese slaughterhouses and processing plants before certifying them eligible to export poultry.

US poultry companies say China has placed unfairly high tariffs, ranging from 50.3 percent to 105.4 percent, on imports of American poultry, hitting companies such as Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's Pride and Sanderson Farms, according to Reuters.

Source: Global Times
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