China does not want trade conflict with US in 2010

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Saturday he hoped 2010 would not be ‘an unpeaceful year’ for trade and economic relations with the United States, in an online Internet forum.
Wen made the comments during an online chat with Internet users shown live on the central government’s website and the official Xinhua news agency website.
Trade disputes between China and the United States should be resolved through “equal negotiations” rather than sanctions, Wen said in response to a question on increasingly strained ties between the two nations.
He said maintaining good relations would benefit both countries and urged the United States to lift restrictions on US exporters selling hi-tech products to China. “If the United States loosens restrictions over the exports of some high-tech products to China the bilateral trade surplus will narrow,” Wen said.
“We hope the Sino-US trade is balanced and sustainable. Our goal is to achieve a basic balance of international payments.” Ties between Beijing and Washington have been strained for months over a series of issues — from trade and currency disputes to the future in China of Google, after it fell victim to cyberattacks it says originated in the country.
On the trade front, the United States has imposed duties on a number of Chinese imports, from tyres to electric blankets to steel tubes and wire decking.
China has responded with its own penalties on imports from the United States of chicken meat and steel products. The online discussion on Saturday was a repeat of a similar exercise last year and attracted thousands of questions from people in China and abroad on issues such as the lack of affordable housing and corruption among officials.
Wen has tried to forge a reputation as a man of the people, contrasting with his colleagues in the ruling Communist Party hierarchy who come across as much more staid.
China has the world’s largest online population with at least 384 million users, according to official figures.
However the Internet in China is also regarded as one of the most heavily censored, with the communist authorities seeking to block a wide range of issues they believe may threaten their rule.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2010