China: United States: China gives foreigners greater stake in securities and insurance

Both sectors were almost exclusively in Chinese hands. US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue ends today in Beijing with the Americans gaining some ground. However, China will not budge on the yuan. Meanwhile, the Chen Guangcheng affair waits for its denouncement.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - China agreed to let "foreigners own bigger stakes" in its securities firms at a high-level dialogue with the United States. Beijing also agreed to expand "access to its auto insurance market" and to negotiate guidelines "to regulate export credits", an American official said ahead of a final communiqué to Chinese-US talks, which should end shortly in Beijing.

The two-day US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue had positive results, Chinese President Hu Jintao said after meeting the US delegation in Beijing.

However, the Chen Guangcheng affair somewhat overshadowed the talks even though both sides tried to downplayed the problem to focus on their economic talks.

The economies of the world's two largest economies have become interdependent. Chinese exports, which have driven the country's economy, need the huge US market. US know-how needs Chinese labour to manufacture.

Speaking to Secretary Clinton, Hu said that the two countries must use the Dialogue to strengthen their strategic partnership and boost trust and cooperation.

This year's Dialogue focused on the economic crisis and delicate issues like North Korea and Iran. In the latter case though, both sides limited themselves to customary diplomatic language stressing the importance of peace and cooperation.

The main bone of contention remained the yuan. And Beijing appears to have prevailed. Until recently, China has kept a tight leash on its currency to favour exports. In the past few years, the country's central bank has allowed some fluctuation.

Like in previous summits, the US had tried to get the Chinese to budge on the issue of the yuan revaluation. In order to induce his hosts to move, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, "A stronger, more market-determined" currency would "reinforce China's reform objectives".

At the start of the talks, the heads of the two delegations made opening statements. In the case of China, President Hu Jintao and Vice Premier Wang Qishan spoke.

"Given the different national conditions, it is impossible for China and the United States to see eye to eye on every issue," Hu said.

"We should approach our differences in the correct way and respect and accommodate each other's interests and concerns," Wang added.

For Shi Yinhong, a US affairs expert at Renmin University, the Chinese leaders' remarks betray Beijing's frustration over the Chen case.

"The US has previously said it respects China's right to choose its development path. But the incidents [. . .] have raised serious concerns about whether the US is becoming more disrespectful of China and increasingly meddling in China's domestic problems," he said.

Source: Asia News


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