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US Officials Press China on Economic Reform Before Talks


U.S. officials released a barrage of statements Monday prodding China to do more to reform its economy.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab wrote Monday in the Financial Times newspaper that China's slow economic reforms put the "Chinese and global economies at risk."

She complained that Chinese government intervention in the economy increased in the last year and that Beijing has done too little to protect intellectual property.

Schwab will join Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and other officials in talks in Beijing this week. The talks will center on trade imbalances, intellectual property rights and currency reforms.

In its annual report on Monday, U.S. trade representatives warned that Washington would not hesitate to sue China at the World Trade Organization if bilateral talks fail.

The report also said that U.S. companies were suffering "unacceptably high" losses.

Paulson also said on Monday that relations between Beijing and Washington were at a "pivotal moment," and that he hopes the trip to China will lay the groundwork for important progress down the line.

Paulson said the upcoming meetings will be a good opportunity to take a more comprehensive look at U.S.-China economic relations.

He said that rather than only looking at the relationship issue by issue, the upcoming meeting will give officials a chance to take a comprehensive look at all items on the agenda.

Paulson said that by doing that, he hopes China and the United States will really be able to move the ball forward.

Chinese officials say they would respond "positively" to U.S. concerns, but they say currency policies are a matter of national sovereignty. They also say China has won high marks from other members of the World Trade Organization after five years in the global trading body.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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