Hillary, Geithner to lead America in US-China dialogue

Hillary and Timothy Geithner would be leading a group of about 200 officials.

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would be leading a group of about 200 officials from various departments to participate in the second Strategic and Economic Dialogue in China.

"This is one of the largest groups of cabinet and sub-cabinet officials from the United States ever to visit China. We`ll have a total group of almost 200 officials that will be there during this two-day session. It includes virtually all elements of the US Government, also key players from the Department of Defence and US Pacific Command as well," Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said on Wednesday.

The two countries would be holding the second such meeting after the first was held in Washington last year.

"Secretary (Hillary) Clinton will seek to underscore her continuing commitment to the principal issues that she underscored in 2009 which continue to animate US-China relations, and that is cooperation on regional security matters, work together on global financial issues, and obviously, climate change as well," Campbell told reporters in a preview briefing.

During her first to China as the Secretary of State, Hillary had made it clear that one of the issues at the top of agenda was the global economic situation and the critical role that the US and China play in that situation.

"So I think there`s no lack of recognition on both sides of the economic and strategic spectrum that we have a host of issues that we need to work together on strategic, regional, and particularly economic and financial," he said.

Treasury Department Senior Coordinator for China Affairs, David Loevinger, said America`s relationship with China is one of the most important in the world and US President Barack Obama is committed to it.

"President Obama has underscored the very tight link between trade and US job creation, and he has set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years to create two million additional American jobs," he said.

"Combating barriers that prevent US workers and companies from getting free and fair access to foreign markets and ensuring that large economies like China with large current account surpluses depend more on their own domestic demand for growth, are key components of our efforts to achieve this goal of doubling exports in five years," Loevinger said.

China presents enormous opportunities for US companies and US workers, but also some of its biggest economic challenges, he said.

"The Strategic and Economic Dialogue allows US and Chinese officials at the very highest levels to work together to address these challenges, to comprehensive and candid engagement and discussion. That`s why Secretary Geithner and Secretary (Hillary) Clinton are leading such a large delegation to Beijing," Loevinger observed.

"While we hope to make progress on a range of issues, not all of the thorniest issues in our bilateral relationship will get resolved in a single meeting, and we will continue to promote US interests in our bilateral economic relations with China using every tool - the S&ED, the JCCT, the G-20, other fora, and of course, WTO-consistent trade remedies," he said.

Last year, the two nations had agreed to focus on four key areas of economic relationship: combating trade and investment barriers; promoting a strong recovery and more balanced growth; promoting more resilient, open, and market-oriented financial systems and strengthening the international economic and financial architecture.

Despite the benefits reaped by the two countries from a rule-based global trade and investment regime, the US has concerns about some of China`s trade and investment policies, most recently and perhaps most notably, some of its policies to promote indigenous innovation, Loevinger said, adding this could be done in such a way that it does not close off markets for US goods and services.

The highest priority was the creation of jobs for American workers to promote balanced growth, he said, adding this would require both countries to take steps to rebalance the way they grow.

"On promoting more resilient and open financial sectors, the US and China face very different challenges. But at the same time, reforming our financial sectors and strengthening regulation and supervision is critical both to have strong and sustainable growth and reduce the risks of further booms and busts...," he said.

"The cooperation among the financial regulators has to keep pace with the integration of the financial sectors to ensure the integrity of our markets, cut off regulatory arbitrage, contain systemic risks, and protect small investors from fraud."

On the issue of strengthening the global financial and economic architecture, both the countries recognise the "very important role" of multilateral institutions and mechanisms -- like the G-20, the IMF, the World Bank, Loevinger said.

"And we`re going to talk with China about ways we can work together to make sure that these institutions are both legitimate, effective, and have the resources to do their jobs," the senior official added.