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US mulls ending restrictions

By Hu Yuanyuan  (China Daily)

13:30, May 04, 2012

The United States may loosen its restrictions on high-tech exports to China, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said at the fourth round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

According to Chen, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said at the talks on Thursday that there would soon be substantial progress in easing those restrictions on exports to China.

"I hope I'll have enough patience, and that the day of easing the export controls is not far off," Chen said.

Currently, the US has restrictions on the export of more than 2,400 types of products to China.

Those restrictions, according to Chen, are the reason for China's trade surplus with the US.

"It is difficult for two countries to balance bilateral trade if there are too many export restrictions between them," Chen said.

The US reported its trade deficit with China reached an all-time high of $295.5 billion last year, up 8.2 percent from 2010.

Despite repeated pledges from the US government, however, recent incidents indicate the US is tightening its trade policies with China to an extent, analysts said.

The US is considering easing limitations on the export of commercial satellites, for example, but singled China out.

"It seems that the US is still fine-tuning its economic policies toward China, which makes the dialogue more meaningful at the moment," said Song Hong, a researcher of international trade at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

According to Song, the resumption of a bilateral investment treaty between China and the US is a highlight for the fourth round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

"It will be a breakthrough to further deepen the economic and trade ties between the world's two biggest economies," said Song. "Meanwhile, because 2012 is an election year in the US, this round of talks is more important than ever because it will probably lay the foundation for the two countries' future relationship."

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