China, U.S. hash out trade disputes

Marketplace Staff May 22, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: China and the U.S. have issues — trade issues, specifically. This morning in Washington, the two sides sat down, hoping to talk things out. China sent over its biggest trade delegation ever.

This two-day meeting is called The Strategic Economic Dialogue. Despite that scintillating title, the two sides do seem to be excited about the possibilities. Jeremy Hobson reports.

JEREMY HOBSON: Bilateral talks between the US and China are nothing new. The two sides have often narrowly focused on specific disputes. But the Strategic Economic Dialogue is taking a different perspective.

NICHOLAS LARDY: This is a very broad agenda that’s looking at big issues for the medium long term — even over-the-horizon issues.

Nicholas Lardy is a senior fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics. He’s talking about issues like energy, the environment, intellectual property — and oh yeah, that pesky trade surplus.

Last year, it hit a record $233 billion, blamed on an undervalued Chinese currency. Don’t get your hopes up for a rapid solution on that one, says Lardy.

LARDY: There are a huge number of constraints on the Chinese side in terms of what they feel they can do, and I think the expectations on the U.S. side, particularly in Congress, are likely to be disappointed.

But there may be a few bright spots for the U.S. The Chinese are expected to begin allowing foreign companies to take a larger stake in Chinese banks — and they’re likely to cut tariffs on some services and technologies.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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