US, China economies ’inseparable’

US, China economies ’inseparable’

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
US, China economies ’inseparable’

Vice Prime Minister Wang says the recovery of the world economy in the next five years will be sluggish. AP photo

The economies of China and the U.S. have become “interdependent and inseparable,” a top Chinese official said after high-level trade talks which were being watched for signs of how the two powers will cooperate after their respective political transitions.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan was speaking on Dec. 19 after the annual U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. Tackling dozens of thorny, detailed trade issues, the two days of talks were short on big outcomes but set an upbeat tone for relations after President Barack Obama’s re-election and the elevation of new leaders of China’s ruling Communist Party. Wang, who last month was elevated to a spot in the elite seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, said recovery of the world economy in the next five years will be sluggish, so the U.S.-China economic relationship has acquired critical importance.

$500 billion trade

“Our two countries have to strengthen our economic relationship. We have to come to terms with the fact that we have become interdependent and inseparable,” he said. The two nations share more than $500 billion in two-way trade, heavily weighted in China’s favor. New Chinese party leader Xi Jinping is already under domestic pressure to revive a Chinese economy that has slowed some after three decades of rapid growth. Speaking to American business executives at a glitzy dinner after the trade talks, Wang drew a direct comparison between Xi and Obama, saying both had a “very heavy weight to bear” to make good on promises they have made to their peoples during the campaign for “election.”

Wang said China was sticking to the path of economic reform. He said China would honor its promises to observe trade rules and give fair treatment to foreign companies amid concerns over the reach of China’s hulking state-owned enterprises and restrictions on investment in some sectors of the economy.

“When we say we are opening up in China, it’s not just empty talk,” said Wang, who has been China’s point man on financial and trade policy with the United States.