BEIJING — The U.S. and China reached several new points of agreement and collaboration after a two-day summit in Beijing on Tuesday, with deals on government procurement and opening Chinese markets further to American goods, services and investment.
At the close of the second U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue, leaders from both countries said they had made substantial progress on key areas and will continue to discuss issues on an ongoing basis. The joint statement unveiled Tuesday evening did not include any mention of the Chinese currency’s value, a matter that has been at the forefront of economic tensions between the two countries.
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“Our economic relationship is strong and it will get stronger,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in the summit’s closing remarks. “Over the past year, we have acted together to help restore financial stability and economic growth to a world in crisis. Because we stood together and because our presidents were willing to act quickly and decisively, the world is in a much stronger position to successfully overcome the challenges ahead.”
The deals reached in the dialogue included working toward new opportunities for American companies and workers in China, China’s agreement to submit a proposal to join the World Trade Organization’s government procurement pact and the promotion of U.S. exports in China and reducing barriers in China to foreign investment. China again pledged to increase domestic consumption. In addition to the economic issues at the heart of the summit, the two countries agreed on some new environmental accords.
President Obama said in Washington the U.S. would take up difficult issues outside the economic realm during future discussions.
“Our two nations may not always agree on every issue, but this dialogue also allows us to communicate and understand one another better,” he said. “This includes America’s abiding commitment to those human rights that are universal and to the dignity of all people.”
But economic issues are at the heart of the U.S.-China relationship, Obama noted.
“As two of the world’s largest economies, we have worked together and with our G-20 partners to sustain the global economic recovery,” he said.
The talks, which brought one of the largest U.S. delegations ever to China, encompassed a broad range of issues, from China’s demand the U.S. drop barriers to Chinese importation of American high-tech goods to concerns about North Korea and the European debt crisis.
Analysts said the forum is intended to foster ongoing discussion, rather than produce dramatic, immediate results or announcements on policy.
In remarks to the Central Party School, a training institute for officials from the Communist Party of China, Geithner said China needs to work on protection of intellectual property rights and market reforms to build an innovation-based economy. The Chinese central government has said it hopes to make this an economy based on innovation by 2020, though experts say the time line is quite ambitious.
Geithner said fostering innovation requires “openness to competition, domestically and overseas, on a level playing field — openness to new entrants, to the small company, not just competition among the large — […and] a financial system that can take the savings of your citizens and channel them efficiently to the most productive investments, the most promising innovations.”