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China, U.S. vow to strengthen trade ties


   Top Chinese and U.S. trade officials pledged Monday, April 27 to strengthen bilateral trade cooperation amidst the ongoing global financial crisis.

    "We welcome American companies that want to increase their investment in China," visiting Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said when meeting his U.S. counterpart Gary Locke. "Meanwhile, we also encourage capable Chinese companies to invest in the U.S."

    "We hope that the U.S. government will welcome Chinese investments and create an open and transparent investment environment," Chen added.

    Locke said that he agreed with Chen and the U.S. government paid much attention to strengthening relations with China.

    Both ministers underscored the importance of achieving concrete results at the next meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and discussed other issues, such as increasing U.S. exports to China and the need to avoid protectionism.

    Chen also exchanged views with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk on a range of bilateral and multilateral trade issues at a meeting held Monday afternoon.

    "Particularly during the current difficult global economic circumstances, both the United States and China have a tremendous stake in maintaining a vibrant, open international trading system to revive and sustain growth," said Kirk in a statement after the meeting.

    "With the size and importance of our bilateral trade flows, we also have a shared interest in ensuring that our bilateral trade relationship is fair, sustainable and mutually beneficial," he added.

    During his visit, Chen also warned against the rising protectionism in the United States.

    "History tells us that the more serious a crisis becomes, the more committed we must be to openness and cooperation," Chen wrote in an article published on the Wall Street Journal on Monday. "Regrettably, however, trade measures by the U.S. against China are on the rise."

    Recently, American industries have petitioned the U.S. government for anti-dumping investigations and for investigations under the World Trade Organization's "special safeguard provision," which could restrict imports of Chinese products, he said.

    "This will seriously test China-U.S. economic and trade relations," he warned.

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