China defends trade with United States

BEIJING - China wants to achieve balanced trade with the United States, but statistical differences and US restrictions are also to blame for the trade gap, a Chinese government spokeswoman said on Thursday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 15 Feb 2007, 6:16 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:55 PM

US figures released this week showed that in 2006 the politically volatile trade deficit with China expanded 15.4 percent to a record $232.5 billion -- a result likely to intensify calls in Washington for protective legislation.

But in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the trade gap was not as severe as US numbers suggested.

“Imbalances in China-US trade are an objective fact, but this is also related to the two sides’ different statistical methods,” Jiang told a regular news conference.

“China does not seek a long-term major trade surplus, and we’re willing to further expand imports from the United States.”

China’s foreign ministry does not often wade into controversy over trade, leaving comment to the country’s tight-lipped commerce officials. But Jiang’s comments appeared unlikely to deflect moves in the US Congress to target China’s trade policies as systematically unfair.

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, the country’s trade gap with the United States reached $144.3 billion in 2006, a rise of 26.2 percent on the previous year but much lower than Washington’s count.

Jiang said US restrictions on exporting some high-tech products -- which Washington says are necessary to stop them beefing up China’s military -- also add to the trade imbalance. US officials say the restrictions make a negligible difference.

Democrats who recently took control of Congress have pressed President George W. Bush to staunch the trade deficits with China, including allowing counter-vailing on goods from China that are determined to be subsidized.

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