BEIJING - Two days of bilateral talks ended yesterday without much being done by China or the United States to deflate Washington's growing impatience over trade practices it says have led to massive trade deficits.
China's top negotiator, Vice Premier Wu Yi, cited progress during the talks on food safety and environmental protection, calling the China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue a "complete success," but she acknowledged more must be done.
"Both sides need to discuss Sino-U.S. economic relations from a strategic point of view and map out a better blueprint for future U.S.-China economic trade relations and cooperation," Wu said.
But tensions over China's trade surplus and monetary policy remain entrenched.
So far this year, the U.S. trade imbalance with China is running at an annual rate of $256 billion, on track to surpass last year's record high of $233 billion.
The widening trade imbalance reflects record Chinese imports, led by shipments of toys and games and televisions for Christmas.
The growing deficit has triggered a backlash in Congress, with dozens of pending bills that would penalize China for what critics see as unfair trade practices that have led to the loss of three million U.S. manufacturing jobs since 2000.
The modest agreements this week between the United States and China were in marked contrast to those reached during a visit last month by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other EU officials. The delegations left with contracts for nuclear reactors and Airbus S.A.S. passenger jets worth nearly $30 billion.
Wu said Beijing could not be blamed for America's appetite for inexpensive Chinese goods and suggested Washington lift restrictions on high-tech exports to diminish the trade deficit. She also bristled over threatened protectionist legislation. Beijing officials stood by current monetary policies, saying a slow valuation of the yuan is best.