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Interview: U.S. trade mission to China to focus on clean energy

05-16-2010 10:42 BJT

by Xinhua writer Liu Hong

WASHINGTON, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Forty-six U.S. business executives, led by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, began a 10-day trip to China Saturday to promote clean energy technologies, which in Locke's words, will be a win-win scenario for both countries.

The delegation, the first cabinet-level trade mission of the Obama Administration, will make stops in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

"We hope to have various signing ceremonies throughout the trip," Locke said before departing the U.S.

A MISSION TO PROMOTE EXPORTS OF U.S. CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES

The mission comes on the heels of the Obama administration's National Export Initiative, which seeks to double American exports over the next five years -- supporting some two million new jobs in the process.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the mission aims to promote exports of leading U.S. technologies related to clean energy, energy efficiency, and electric energy storage, transmission, and distribution.

"Energy is a 6 trillion dollar market. And green energy is the fastest growing sector. The race to develop the new technologies the world will one day rely on is a race that this nation and all developed nations must engage in," Locke told reporters at a press conference Wednesday.

The top U.S. trade official said the increased trade with China, especially cooperation on clean energy sector, benefited both countries.

"Every American should know that when a U.S. clean energy company finds success abroad, it creates more jobs here at home in the United States," Locke said. "In fact, some of the companies on this trip produce over 90 percent of the components for the products that they sell overseas right here in the United States."

The trade mission was an opportunity for win-win scenarios for American companies, American workers and the people and the governments of China, he said.

ECONOMIC AND TRADE FRICTIONS TO CONTINUE AS COOPERATION DEEPENS

According to statistics released by the Chinese government, bilateral trade between China and the United States grew 9 percent a year in the past five years.

Currently, the U.S. stands as China's second largest trading partner, the second largest export market and the sixth largest source of imports. China is the second largest trading partner of the U.S., its third biggest export market and its number one source of imports.

While the two countries enjoy enormous cooperation opportunities in many areas, the U.S. Commerce Department has imposed a series of tariffs on Chinese products and many Chinese companies complain they have been affected by the rising protectionist measures taken by U.S. government.

Locke rebuffed these complaints, saying he had explained to Chinese officials it was not the United States government that brought the cases.

"It's not the policy of the United States government to file these cases. These cases are filed by companies within the United States who feel that the actions of a company from another country (were affecting them)," he told Xinhua.

He also noted that less than 3 percent of all goods sold from China into the United States were subject to duties in question.

"So 97 percent of all the goods coming from China are without any type of penalties or dumping duties or counter-veiling subsidies," Locke said. "We should not focus on the number of complaints."

Many Chinese officials have argued the U.S. export control against China has already limited their access to the Chinese market.

They believe the achievement of trade balance between the two countries rests not with restricting China's exports to the U.S., but with increasing U.S. exports to China.

Secretary Locke echoed the opinion.

While he insisted that national security should be the U.S.'s overriding objective, he also admitted "there are so many things now that are on the various control lists that really should not be on the control list."

He also told reporters the U.S. government was reviewing its high-tech control systems and the result would be announced in the next few months.

He said the current system had strong protections for both sophisticated technologies that could affect U.S. national security, and technologies that were readily available from around the world, which really made no sense?

"So we need to reduce those restrictions and make it easier for those items to be exported," Locke said.

Editor:Zhang Ning |Source: Xinhua

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