06/19/2008, 00.00
CHINA - UNITED STATES
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Beijing, Washington satisfied with "doing business" and "delaying" issues

The countries want to hammer out bilateral treaties on trade and the development of alternative, eco-friendly energy. Mutual praise, and satisfaction over the revaluation of the yuan. Meanwhile, business agreements totalling 13.8 billion dollars have been concluded, and Beijing announces that Bush will come to the Olympics.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - China and the United States will agree on a "bilateral treaty" to organise and facilitate investments in each other's companies, and want to cooperate in the area of energy.  The fourth strategic economic dialogue appears to be marked by extensive trade agreements signed by companies of the two countries (for a value of more than 13.8 billion dollars), rather than by political agreements.

Chinese businesses want to invest in the U.S. market, but in the past Washington has blocked its leading companies from falling into foreign hands.  U.S. companies are asking for access to the Chinese financial services market, but Beijing does not want to open the sector to foreign players, with superior power and resources.  Now negotiations are open to anything: from protection of intellectual property to free trade.

U.S. treasury secretary Henry Paulson, in announcing the initiative, knows very well that such an agreement will require at least a year of work, and a two-thirds majority in the U.S. Senate, so the matter will await the future president.  U.S. companies are satisfied, pressing the White House to reach bilateral agreements with the leading emerging economies, like Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Deputy prime minister Wang Qishan is also satisfied, because Chinese companies will be able to invest in the U.S. market.  At an honorary luncheon with local businessmen, Wang repeated that China will open completely to foreign companies, but according to the time necessary for reforms.

In the matter of energy, the parties announced joint studies on the use of alternative energy and of environmentally friendly technologies.  On the yuan, last year's disagreements seem to have vanished, when the U.S. was pressing for a more rapid appreciation of the Chinese currency, and Paulson expressed satisfaction with the revaluation of the renminbi and with the "frank" exchange.  Experts agree that this revaluation is also in China's interest, in order to contain inflation.  Meanwhile, Chinese sources are asking Washington to guarantee greater stability in the dollar, in order to avoid further worldwide price increases and the loss in value for the currency reserves of many countries, which are held in dollars.

The Chinese delegation will meet with the Senate finance committee today, and tomorrow will visit New York to speak with a large group of politicians and Wall Street officials.  It is confirmation of a more "pragmatic" approach than ever, emphasising closer direct commercial exchange, while political-economic questions are delayed.  For both parties, it was important to ensure sufficient progress to press the next U.S. president to continue the encounters.

Meanwhile, official Chinese sources have reported the promise of president George W. Bush to join the delegation that will go to China for the opening ceremony of the Olympics, in Beijing on August 8.  The White House has not denied the report. (PB)

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