Obama hopes China, US ease trade frictions

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he hoped the United States and China could ease trade frictions and break free of their “old stereotypes.”

Alongside him as the pair met business leaders in Washington, Chinese President Hu Jintao said Beijing vowed to boost interior demand and consumer spending as he hailed a “promising future” for bilateral trade.

Among those attending were the CEOs of US giants like Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and The Coca Cola Company as well as the heads of Chinese computer company Lenovo and China Investment Corporation — a sovereign wealth fund.

The White House announced earlier that the United States and China had agreed a raft of export deals worth $45 billion dollars.

Chinese businesses have descended on the United States to coincide with Hu’s four-day visit, inking agreements with US titans Alcoa, General Electric, Honeywell, Westinghouse and Caterpillar among others.

The deals span sectors as diverse as agriculture, gasification, railways and hybrid buses.

They mark a stark contrast to the trade spats that have complicated relations in recent years, when US officials have appeared increasingly exasperated that cheap Chinese products are flooding the US market.

Washington has frequently challenged China at the World Trade Organization and complained that Beijing has kept the value of its currency artificially low to boost its exports, risking dangerous imbalances in the global economy.