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Making nice in China . . . for now

Ruth Kirchner Dec 13, 2006


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: A lot of empty chairs in Washington this morning. One-third of the President’s cabinet is in Beijing today along with the head of the Federal Reserve. The delegation has arrived for the first-ever Strategic Economic Dialogue. The talks kick off tomorrow and it looks like China’s trade policies will be sharply criticized. However, today the mood was amicable. Ruth Kirchner has more from Beijing.

RUTH KIRCHNER: It was all handshakes and smiles when four U.S. companies signed deals in the Chinese capital.

Among them Home Depot, which made its foray into the market here, buying the Chinese home improvement chain Home Way for an estimated $100 million.

U.S. Trade Secretary Carlos Gutierrez says Sino-US trade relations should be all about deals like this.

CARLOS GUTIERREZ: Commercial engagement, built on open markets with fair and effective rules, is the foundation of the healthy, strong and continually-growing trade relationship that we envision for China and the United States.

But tomorrow the niceties may fall away.

The U.S. delegation is going to present a long list of complaints, from restriction for U.S. companies on the Chinese market to rampant product piracy and the record trade deficit with China.

In Beijing, I’m Ruth Kirchner for Marketplace.

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