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US Sees Progress in Economy Talks with China



U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says differences remain, but the United States and China made progress in high-level talks this week in Beijing.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says China has taken steps to modify a controversial policy that was a source of growing concern among U.S. and other international businesses, and a key issue American officials raised during the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Business leaders have complained a new Chinese policy named "indigenous innovation" makes it difficult for foreign companies to compete in the country.  The policy gives advantages to companies bidding for government contracts that conduct their research and development in China and patent their innovations here.

"And we welcome the progress we achieved to provide a more level playing field for American firms exporting to China and operating in China," said Geithner.

Geithner said officials from both countries would be holding a series of talks to address remaining concerns in the coming weeks and months.

He also welcomed China's commitment to submit a revised offer to join a World Trade Organization agreement by July that sets standards for international access to government contracts. He welcomed its commitments to reduce barriers to foreign investment in services, high-tech goods, energy saving products and high-end manufacturing.

"This is progress," he added.  "It does not fully resolve our concerns, but it gives us a set of basic principles to move forward."

The two sides also agreed to work to develop China's vast natural gas capacity.

U.S. and Chinese officials both spoke about how their cooperation is important to helping stabilize the world's recovery from the global financial crisis.

They noted that while there is promising improvement in the pace of growth in China and the United States, they would also work together to support efforts to help countries in Europe with the challenges they face.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan said the second round of strategic and economic talks with officials from the Obama administration was a success and that both sides had in-depth discussions and reached agreements.

Wang says that as the biggest developing country and biggest developed country, the mutual economic relationship of the United States and China is having an impact on the entire world.

The two sides did not make any additional comments regarding requests from Chinese officials for Washington to put an end to curbs on "dual use" high-tech exports that have possible military applications.

The United States is reviewing its export control policy and is expected to announce changes to the policy in the next few months.

China did not make any additional statements regarding its currency policy, which has been a persistent issue.  On Monday, Chinese President Hu Jintao stressed China would continue with the gradual reform of its currency, the yuan, but at its own pace.

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