Opening Remarks at the Third China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue By Wu Yi,
Vice Premier of the State Council, December 12, 2007
Dear Secretary Henry Paulson, Dear colleagues,
I am delighted to welcome you to attend the Third China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue.
This time last year, following the agreement reached between President Hu Jiantao and President Bush, we held the First China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue in Beijing. Since then, thanks to the personal attention paid and guidance given by the two presidents, the SED mechanism has grown in strength. Attracting widespread public attention in both countries and the international community, it has played an increasingly important role in ensuring the stability and growth of not only China-US business ties, but also our overall relations.
The First China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue focused on the Development Road and Economic Development Strategy of China and the United States. During the second Dialogue, we discussed key issues concerning China-US business relations. And we are meeting for this round of the Dialogue to review the current state of these relations in the broader context of economic globalization and look ahead at their future growth.
The theme for the Dialogue, namely, Seizing the Opportunities of Economic Globalization and Dealing with the Challenges of Economic Globalization, is of both strategic and practical significance. It echoes the trend of the current global economic development, addresses key issues of concern to both China and the United States, and demonstrates our shared desire to resolve difficulties and problems that have occurred in the course of the rapid growth of bilateral business ties and deepen China-US cooperation.
Under this theme, we will discuss such topics as policy steps to meet challenges posed by economic globalization, integrity of trade, cooperation on product quality and food safety, balanced economic development, cooperation on energy and environmental protection, and investment environment improvement. I am confident that our discussions on both the general theme and specific topics of the Dialogue will help boost both China-US business ties and the growth of China-US constructive and cooperative relations.
I wish to take this opportunity to discuss the future growth of our business relations and the priority areas we need to focus on. .
First, China and the United States are both stakeholders and constructive partners. We need to fully appreciate the important weight this relationship carries and the fact that business ties are both the foundation and a key area of the overall China-US relations.
In 1972, when late President Nixon made his first visit to China, our trade was almost non-existent. By contrast, it is expected to exceed US$ 300 billion. China and the United States are each other's second largest trading partners, and China has been the fastest growing export market for the United States for five consecutive years. We owe such progress to the joint efforts of both countries, and we salute all the people in both countries who have worked so hard to build strong business ties between the two countries.
In the course of the rapid growth of China-US business relations, some difficulties and problems have occurred. This is normal, and these difficulties and problems can only be resolved through dialogue and consultation. The history of China-US business relations has repeatedly shown us that it is dialogue and consultation, not confrontation and finger pointing, that have enabled the relations to grow. We should address issues in our business relations in a constructive way. We should make joint efforts and adopt comprehensive measures to ease trade imbalance and resolve disputes so as to further boost our business relations. And this will lay a more solid economic foundation for growing the relations between China and the Unites States who are both stakeholders and constructive partners.
Second, we should strengthen strategic mutual trust, enhance mutual understanding and accommodate each other's concerns through deepened dialogue and consultation.
Thanks to accelerated economic globalization, the growing China-US business relations featuring interdependence, mutual benefit and win-win progress have brought our two peoples increasingly closer to each other. We all hope that both our economies will enjoy sustained growth so as to create more opportunities to expand cooperation in the interest of our respective development.
This is why we must not allow some interest groups to harm our win-win business relations in pursuit of their selfish interests. We must oppose attempt to politicize trade issues. Politicizing trade issues will harm the interests of not just one side, but both sides. I am particularly concerned about the 50 or so protectionist China-related bills introduced in the US Congress. Secretary Paulson and other American colleagues, I need to be quite candid about this: If these bills are adopted, they will severely undermine US business ties with China. I have noticed that the American business community and public figures with vision have seen the grave consequences of protectionism.
I also wish to draw your attention to a joint letter sent by 160 US multinational corporations and industry associations to the Congress on 26 September. The American corporations which signed the letter include high-tech companies such as Intel, Microsoft, IBM and HP, mega retail store chains such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, major financial institutions including Citibank, Morgan Stanley, New York Life and leading American companies like Coco-cola, Procter & Gamble, Chevron and General Electric. It is emphasized in the letter that US trade sanctions against China would only cause negative impact rather than a positive one. Obviously, to resort to trade protectionism and blame another country for the structural problems in the US economy is the wrong approach which would only harm the interest of United States itself.
I also wish to stress that there is enormous potential for further bilateral cooperation in the fields of environment and energy. We need to expand areas of cooperation and make new progress in them. As to China-US trade imbalance, I have repeatedly stated that China has no intention to seek large trade surplus with the United States. Our policy is to maintain a basic balance in international payments. To address China-US trade imbalance requires the concerted efforts of both sides.
Secretary Paulson, the Third round of Strategic Economic Dialogue carries special significance as it is being held at an important stage in our business relations. I hope that through this Dialogue, we will gain a better understanding of the impact of economic globalization on our respective economies, and make major progress on specific issues on the agenda of the Dialogue. This will help us narrow differences and mitigate problems in our business relations, fully implement the agreement between the two presidents on the SED and grow our business relations to the benefit of our two peoples. In conclusion, I wish the Third China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue every success!