US urges fair trade before China talks

US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Sunday that she would be pushing the Chinese for a “more balanced economic relationship” with the US in upcoming economic and strategic talks in Beijing.

Those talks, to be co-chaired by Ms Clinton and US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, are likely to be dominated by efforts to win China’s support to punish North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean warship. But the US officials will be focused on economic issues as well. “For trade to work in any economy and for it to produce the benefits we know it can, there must be a level playing field where domestic and international companies can compete freely and openly,” she told workers at a Boeing maintenance facility at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport. Ms Clinton said she, Mr Geithner and the US delegation would press the Chinese for greater regulatory transparency, non-discrimination, fair access to markets and strong enforcement of intellectual property rights.
Mr Geithner and Ms Clinton are leading a delegation of nearly 200 officials to Beijing as part of an effort to help President Barack Obama deliver on his pledge to double US exports within five years and create two million jobs.
One issue likely to come up is the trade advantage Beijing has because of an undervalued Chinese currency. China has kept the yuan at a rate of about 6.83 per dollar for nearly two years, seeking to cushion its exporters from the global financial crisis. —AP

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