Xi calls for deeper ties with US

Updated: 2014-07-09 12:36

By Zhang Yuwei in New York and Li Jiabao in Beijing (China Daily USA)

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At S&ED opening, president calls for speeding up of trade talks

Xi calls for deeper ties with US

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) delivers a speech at the joint opening ceremony of the Sixth Round of US-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue and the Fifth Round of US-China High-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in Beijing on Wednesday as US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (center) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) listen. Hou Yu / China News Service

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of pushing forward trade and investment talks the United State and China have been engaged in during his opening remarks at the sixth China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Beijing on Wednesday.

Xi called for mutual respect,deepening cooperation and enhancing bilateral trade negotiations to achieve a high standard, balanced two-way trade agreement for building a constructive economic relationship of the world's two largest economies.

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the US and China depend on an open global trading system in which workers and companies can compete on a level playing field. Lew said the historic meeting between President Xi and President Obama at Sunnylands last June marked an important inflection point in the US-China relationship. It was a chance for the two sides to work together to establish rules of the road that will mutually benefit the two nations, the Asia-Pacific region, and the global economy, Lew said.

Before the S&ED kicked off on Wednesday, the atmosphere before the annual two-day event does not seem very favorable, with recent friction on issues including trade and cyber security.

Still, the S&ED provides a "vision" for the world's two largest economies and will be a good platform for senior officials from both sides to communicate and exchange views on friction the two largest economies have experienced recently, said Carlos Gutierrez, chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a Washington-based global strategy and business advisory firm, and former Secretary of Commerce in the Bush Administration.

"I found a great willingness among government officials to talk about how we could make it better and how we can continue to build a relationship," said Gutierrez, who has participated in the past S&ED talks and will attend the upcoming "economic track" of the dialogue in late July.

"There will always be ongoing matters that will be around, but I think we would see a very strong statement about the bilateral investment treaty that has been negotiated," said Gutierrez.

"I don't know if they will make a statement about cyber security but we should be talking about that," said Gutierrez.

Gutierrez also said the two sides should focus on trade talks including the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a high-standard trade agreement the US is negotiating with 11 economies throughout the Asia-Pacific region including Australia, Canada, Japan and Mexico. China hasn't entered the TPP.

"We also need to talk about how we work together instead of regionalizing the world," said Gutierrez.

The economic dialogue has been shrouded by frictions including trade disputes and cyber security.

The Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday that a re-investigation into US chicken imports found evidence of dumping and subsidization that hurt Chinese industry.

The findings were in response to a World Trade Organization report in 2012 that claimed China had violated certain rules after it started anti-dumping and countervailing probes into US chicken imports in 2009 and imposed duties in 2010.

The world's top trade body also ruled in an appeal on Monday that the US had "acted inconsistently with" WTO rules with regard to its countervailing and anti-dumping measures on 24 products from China.

The Commerce Ministry hailed the WTO ruling as a "significant victory of China's challenge against US abuse of trade remedy measures through legal channels, which is of great impact".

The dispute could endanger Chinese exports worth up to $7.2 billion a year, it said.

However, the WTO's appellate body was unable to rule on whether a US trade remedy law - enacted in March 2012 and commonly known as GPX Legislation - was consistent with world trade rules.

The US enacted the legislation to allow its Department of Commerce to apply countervailing duties to imports from nonmarket economy countries, including China.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman cited the WTO ruling as China's failure to challenge US law.

The US will "continue to vigorously defend any challenges to the application of our trade remedy laws to ensure that US workers and businesses are not put at a disadvantage by Chinese or other subsidies", Froman said.

Li Hui, a deputy director of the Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau at the Ministry of Commerce, said that trade friction between the two countries will likely increase.

"Trade disputes will become more complicated in view of the huge trade flows. What's more, there will be more conflicts over the rules and standards covering trade flows," Li said.

China and the US are each other's second-largest trading partner. Sino-US trade rose 7.5 percent year-on-year to $521 billion in 2013.

Contact the writers at yuweizhang@chinadailyusa.com