China asks for understanding on impact of growth
Sunday, 22 June 2008

NEW YORK, Jun 20, ( - Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan called on the United States on Thursday to resist protectionism and to understand that the challenges China faces in developing its economy will require time to sort out.

In a wide-ranging dinner speech to US financial executives, Wang underlined that China faces many contradictory problems that it is trying in earnest to work through, and called on other countries to cooperate and discuss issues of contention rather than resorting to adversarial tactics.

"We have one request of the rest of the world -- an environment of peaceful development. China is changing very quickly and greatly, but China truly has many problems to deal with," he said.

To drive home his point, Wang noted a number of issues that China was facing that could lead to criticism; for example, calls that it buy more beef from the United States.

"When I buy beef, I feel a bit hesitant. Because now there are those saying that the rise in global grain prices results from Chinese and Indian people eating more meat," he told the audience at a plush New York hotel.

"But should we be expected to eat only vegetables and rice?"

Wang is in New York to meet U.S. business leaders, after three days of talks and meetings with U.S. officials and politicians. He has been leading a Chinese delegation for what's been called a strategic economic dialogue with the United States.

Wang pointed to the specific issue of U.S. controls over exports of high-tech products, which the United States says are necessary to prevent some technology from being used in military applications in other countries but which Wang said was hampering China's efforts to trim its trade surplus by buying U.S. goods.

He also said that while he understood U.S. concerns over intellectual property piracy in China, that should not get in the way of developing closer trade ties, notably in areas such as environmental technology.

"China is in a very difficult situation, but despite all those problems China has made great progress on intellectual property rights," Wang said.

"Will we wait to trade until all the 1.3 billion Chinese people have learned about the concept of intellectual property rights? Or will we, in the process of trading, trust that China is constantly making progress and together fight against infractions of IP rights?"

Wang conceded that many market conditions in China were not mature and that there was a need to improve transparency, but said China had made great progress and would continue to open its economy, including the financial sector.

Ultimately, he said, he was optimistic the United States and China would work through their differences.

"The appearance of protectionism in the United States has its reasons, but ultimately it will still continue to be open. And China will not shift from the path of opening and reform."

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