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China, US Tout Progress at Close of Trade Talks

Representatives from the United States and China say they made progress in resolving a variety of economic issues at the conclusion of talks in Washington.

The head of the U.S. delegation, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Wednesday said in his closing remarks that the two sides cleared the way for progress on issues including financial services, energy, the environment and civil aviation.

Paulson's counterpart, Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, said the talks cleared the way for future cooperation.

Paulson told reporters it is important that China speed up its plans to raise the value of its currency, the yuan.

Earlier Wednesday, the governor of the People's Bank of China, Zhou Xioachuan told reporters in Washington that China will stay with its plans to gradually increase the range in which the yuan can appreciate.

Some U.S. lawmakers say that they have serious concerns regarding the yuan's cheap exchange rate. They say it unfairly makes China's exports more attractive, which contributes to a trade imbalance between the two countries.

Wu said talks should continue as an alternative to sanctions that the U.S. has threatened to put on Chinese imports. She is scheduled to meet with President Bush on Thursday.

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