Bush Asks Chinese Official to Address Trade Imbalances

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Curl, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush, set to meet next week with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House, yesterday urged the communist nation to explain how it plans to help correct global trade imbalances.

The pressure from the White House came a day after China pledged to lift its ban on American beef, to crack down on the sale of pirated computer software and to consider allowing foreign firms to compete for Chinese government contracts during negotiations between top economic officials from both countries.

Mr. Bush met yesterday with a Chinese vice prime minister, Wu Yi, on U.S.-Chinese trade issues. She assured the president that China soon plans to reopen its market to U.S. beef imports, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

"The president told Madame Wu Yi that he looks forward to the visit of President Hu Jintao to the White House next week and said it is important that President Hu explain to the American people how China will meet the challenge of rectifying global economic imbalances," Mr. McClellan said.

American companies are hopeful that China will announce before Mr. Hu's trip to Washington that it is prepared to move more quickly to a fully flexible exchange rate. They contend that China's yuan is undervalued by as much as 40 percent, giving China an unfair advantage that contributes to a massive U.S. trade deficit with China.

Although China has allowed the value of the yuan to rise by a little more than 3 percent in the past year, U.S. companies contend the Chinese are going far too slowly in dealing with what could make a big difference in narrowing the trade gap. …