U.S., China Conclude Extensive Talks on Strategic, Economic Issues
By Phillip Kurata
IIP Staff Writer
May 4, 2012
The United States and China have wrapped up two days of talks in Beijing on strategic and economic issues for the purpose of building what Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton called “the most consequential relationship of the 21st century.”
“We want to see China not only deliver economic prosperity for its large population, but also play a key role in world affairs,” Clinton said at the end of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue May 4.
The United States and China initiated the annual dialogue in 2009 to hold thorough, extensive conversations to try to do something that Clinton said is “historically unprecedented.”
The two countries are looking to “write a new answer to the age-old question of what happens when an established power and a rising power meet,” she said. Instead of trying to thwart one another, the United States and China want to build “a resilient relationship that allows both of our nations to thrive without unhealthy competition, rivalry or conflict,” she said.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who led the U.S. delegation at the economic portion of the talks, said China’s economic and financial rise is “completely consistent” with the U.S. desire to see China assume an expanded role in major international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Geithner said China is doing its part to create a “more level playing field” for trade and investment by allowing its currency, the yuan, to appreciate by more than 40 percent against the dollar in the past five years. This has raised the price of Chinese exports and lowered the cost of U.S. exports to China, contributing to shrinkage of the bilateral trade imbalance.
He also said China is strengthening protection of intellectual property rights, trade secrets and trademarks; reforming its tariffs and taxes on imported goods, which will expand domestic consumption; and beginning broader reforms to create a modern financial system in which the market rather than the government plays the central role in investment.
“We welcome these changes, as well as the recent increase in Chinese business investment in the United States,” Geithner said. “They … represent progress that translates into greater opportunities for U.S. workers and companies.”
At the dialogue, the two countries announced a number of people-to-people initiatives and partnerships to strengthen ties outside government relations. Among them were five new EcoPartnerships — voluntary arrangements of state, local and private-sector groups to spur innovation, investment and engagement in clean energy and the environment. One such partnership will bring scientists and experts together to manage and monitor the Mississippi and Yangtze river systems and develop sustainable agriculture in both countries.
Clinton announced the creation of an independent, nonprofit organization funded by the Ford Foundation that will sustain the 100,000 Strong Initiative, which will send 100,000 U.S. students to study in China. Scholarships for American students from underserved communities and historically black colleges and universities will also be offered by public and private entities, such as Motorola, Microsoft and Hilton Worldwide from the United States and the Bank of China and GlamourPin from China. Geithner said he personally benefited from a people-to-people exchange 30 years ago when he went to Beijing to study Chinese.
Clinton concluded by stating that the United States and China “are building a foundation for future cooperation that will benefit both our nations and the world.”