US needs to loosen export controls: China

WASHINGTON: Beijing’s top trade official on Monday pressed the United States to ease export controls against China, saying that was key to righting the massive trade imbalance between the world’s two largest economies.Chen Deming, the Chinese trade minister, said that US and Chinese officials had discussed the lopsided bilateral trade balance on the first day of high-level annual consultations.”The way to resolve this imbalance is to ease the export control regime of the United States towards China and to encourage US exports to China rather than restricting Chinese exports to the United States,” Chen told reporters, speaking through an interpreter.He said the Chinese side emphasized that the current imbalance in trade has multiple causes and has been going on for some time.

Chinese firms seeking to buy sensitive US technologies or invest in US tech firms especially those with security or military applicable technologies must get approval, and denials and delays have angered Beijing.In February Chinese mobile network equipment giant Huawei was unable to gain permission to buy assets of US server technology firm 3Leaf after a lengthy wait, and gave up on the $2 million deal.In 2008 Huawei was also stymied in attempts to buy 3Com, and last year politicians objected to it selling equipment to Sprint Nextel, citing national security risks.Chen meanwhile said that the US complaint over China’s allegedly undervalued yuan was not discussed at the morning session of the annual two day Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which included US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, tapped to be ambassador to China; and the top trade envoy, Ron Kirk.

But he said the subject would likely be brought up in subsequent sessions.Geithner placed the complaint on China’s currency policy first on a list of key issues to discuss at the two-day US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington.The United States says China keeps the yuan artificially undervalued to gain a trade advantage. China had a $273 billion trade surplus with the US last year.Chen said that from the perspective of trade, Washington’s concern “is not founded.”Over the past three years, he said, China’s overall trade surplus has continued to decline and fell to about $180 billion, or 3.1 percent of gross domestic product.By international standards, that is “a very healthy share,” he said.”We have a balanced trade with all other countries except the United States,” he added. – Brecorder