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In Shanghai, Clinton Highlights US-China Trade Relations

US secretary of state makes comments on the eve of high-level economic and political talks in Beijing

On the eve of high-level economic and political talks between the United States and China, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted the importance of strong economic and trade ties to both countries during a visit to China's commercial capital, Shanghai.

During a visit to a Boeing aircraft maintenance facility in Shanghai, Secretary Clinton focused on issues important to the U.S. side in this week's economic talks.

She said for trade to work in any economy, there must be a level playing field where domestic and international companies can compete freely.

The top U.S. diplomat said, "For example, transparency in rule making and standard setting, non-discrimination, fair access to sales to private sector and government purchasers alike - and the strong enforcement of intellectual property rights - are all vitally important. That's what drives innovation, benefits consumers, and ultimately stimulates broad-based and sustainable growth."

Saying it is a "win-win" situation for both countries, Clinton said American companies want to compete in China, selling goods made by American workers to Chinese consumers.

"Greater economic engagement here and across Asia by U.S. companies - and especially rising exports - help create jobs for American workers, higher standards of living for Asian consumers, and a more balanced global economy, which is good for everyone," said Clinton.

On Monday and Tuesday, nearly 200 U.S. officials from nearly every corner of American government will be in Beijing for high-level talks known as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

They will discuss pressing political issues, such as North Korea's attack on a South Korean naval ship, Iran's controversial nuclear program and China's spotty human rights record. They will also discuss issues of economic balance and competition.

Secretary Clinton said there is already progress on the Chinese-U.S. economic front. The U.S. remains the largest single country market for China's exports, while U.S. merchandise exports to China have more than tripled since 2001, and trends suggest that growth will continue.

Standing in front of a Boeing 737 jetliner, colorfully painted with the logo of the World Expo now going on in Shanghai, Secretary Clinton said the aerospace industry is the United States' leading export sector, with every $1 billion in aviation sales translating into 11,000 jobs for American workers.

Currently, more than half the commercial jetliners operating in China are made by Boeing, and some 450 more are on order. Secretary Clinton said they only represent a fraction of the $400 billion China is likely to spend on commercial jetliners if it triples its commercial aviation fleet by 2028 as projected.

Secretary Clinton said, "If Boeing captures a significant portion of those sales, it will translate into tens of thousands of additional good jobs for American workers. And the growth of air travel in China and the region will create new jobs here and abroad. President Hu has rightly called Boeing's role in China a 'win-win' for both countries."

During the coming days, that sort of economic cooperation will be taking center stage in Beijing.