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China-U.S. First Strategic Economic Dialogue Ends

2006-12-18

    BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- China and the United States concluded their first strategic economic dialogue Friday noon, with "a number of consensus" reached.

    "We have come to a number of consensus, although we remained different on some issues," Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi told the press after the two-day landmark dialogue.

    In a joint press briefing, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson hailed the dialogue, saying "it is important and encouraging that we have agreed on so many principles."

    "We each will take measures to address global imbalances through greater national savings in the United States and to increase consumption and exchange rate flexibility in China," said Paulson, who led a high-profile U.S. trade mission to the dialogue.

    The two-day dialogue focused on "China's development road and economic development strategy." Chinese and U.S officials had extensive and in-depth discussions on a wide range of topics, including balanced development between urban and rural areas, sustainable development, trade, investment, energy and environment issues, according to a statement by Chinese Foreign Ministry.

    On Friday afternoon, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Paulson, the second meeting in less than three months.

    Hu said the dialogue helped improve Sino-U.S. economic and trade cooperation and exercised a positive impact on the development of regional and world economy.

    "The dialogue is a big success. It is a long way toward institutionalizing. I hope it would be a very important part in China-U.S. relations in many year to come," Paulson told Hu.

    Calling the dialogue "necessary and helpful," Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in Friday's meeting with Paulson that the dialogue will exert far-reaching influence.

    "Cooperation and complementarity are the mainstream in Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations, and differences and frictions are only tributary," Wen said.

    In a fact sheet released at the end of the dialogue, China and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to pursuing macroeconomic policies.

    "China will carry out the exchange rate regime reform and the United States will increase saving rates so as to promote balanced and strong growth and prosperity in the two nations," the fact sheet said.

    Though focusing on long-term strategic issues, the landmark dialogue also produced tangible successes.

    Both sides agreed that the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ should open offices in China.

    The United States has given the green light for China to join the Inter-American Development Bank.

    The fact sheet said the two governments concluded an agreement facilitating financing to support U.S. exports to China and agreed to re-launch bilateral air service negotiations beginning January 2007.

    The two sides also agreed to increase bilateral cooperation in more efficient and environmentally sustainable energy use, facilitation of personal and business travel, and development of lending.

    Later Friday, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, a member of Paulson's delegation, delivered a half-hour speech in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China's think-tank.

    "China's development and its opening up to the global economy have benefited the United States in many ways," Bernanke said in his speech entitled "The Chinese Economy: Progress and Challenge."

    The Chinese delegation to the dialogue include more than 10 ministers in charge of finance, development and reform, science, labor, railway, communications, health, environment, and central bank.

    The U.S. delegation, the highest-profile trade mission the United States has ever sent to China, included cabinet secretaries of commerce, labor, energy and health and human services.

    Paulson and some delegation members left Beijing Friday evening.

    The second strategic economic dialogue will be held in Washington next May, with topics covering innovation, education and bilateral trade relationship.

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