China, US try to fix trade dispute

Shanghai, November 20:

China has absorbed a barrage of criticism from the United States on the trade front in recent years, but the rising Asian giant will be on the front foot when US president George W Bush visits this weekend.

Bush is certain to serve Hu with a list of well-versed trade complaints, such as China’s tightly controlled currency exchange regime, intellectual property rights violations and the deepening bilateral trade imbalance.

President Hu Jintao, who will host Bush in Beijing from Saturday evening to Monday, will undoubtedly want to ease trade frictions. But he will also be keen to highlight his own growing concerns about Washington’s trade protectionism and other issues, according to Mei Xinyu, a researcher for the ministry of commerce.

“The other side of the coin of the trade imbalance story is the US itself is sick, but it urges others to take medicine,” Mei said, “If it were me, I would like to say to Bush — ‘Please strictly follow World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, please keep your promises to the WTO. Do not be inconsistent in your words and do not use double standards.’”

Beijing and Washington this month resolved one protracted trade dispute, over the surge

of Chinese textiles to the US following the end of a world quota system.

Both sides hailed the three-year long deal that sets new quotas on Chinese textile exports to the US as being good for trade stability. But Beijing at the same time expressed clear unhappiness with what it believes is Washington’s bending of the rules to suit itself.

“Developed countries should understand that free trade is

the overriding trend and quota restrictions are inappropriate,” commerce minister Bo Xilai said. With the US trade deficit with China expected to punch through 200 billion

dollars this year — Washington’s protectionism is becoming a growing concern among Chinese politicians and industry chiefs.

“For China also these kind of issues are very important because if protectionism really accumulates too much it could hurt the Chinese economy,” said the People’s University’s Shi.

Why, Beijing has repeatedly asked, does the US, with an economy that is some seven times the size of China’s $1.6 trillion economy, not take steps to fix its own economic backyard? Another way to balance the scales would be for the US to relax its tight control on exports to China of high-tech equipment.

‘Fair trade key’

WASHINGTON: President Bush said he will demand fair trade for US businesses when he meets China’s leader, Hu Jintao. Bush said that increased access to foreign markets for US business, farmers and services was the top goal of his current Asia tour. “I will also raise important trade issues during my meeting in Beijing with president Hu of China,” Bush said, “When I met with president Hu in New York earlier this year, he said that China would bring more balance to our trade and protect intellectual property rights. I welcomed those commitments, just as I we-lcomed China’s announcement that it would implement a flexible market-ba-sed exchange system for its currency. These statemen-ts are a good beginning, b-ut China needs to take action to ensure these.” — AFP