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"As two of the world's most productive and innovative economies, the United States and China are uniquely positioned to create the solar, wind, biofuel and other renewable technologies that the world wants and needs," said U.S Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. "And," he added, "as the two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, the United States and China have a special responsibility to take action."
Secretary Locke made the remarks on July 15th at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce and U.S.-China Business Council in Beijing. Mr. Locke noted that the stimulus package deployed earlier this year by the administration of President Barack Obama contained $112 billion to advance green priorities, and the President's 2010 budget proposes spending $15 billion every year for the next 10 years in renewable energy research and development.
He said China too, has a major role to play. "China's leaders have begun making important progress confronting the causes of climate change," said Secretary Locke.
Almost 40 percent of China's domestic economic stimulus is going towards green projects. China has adopted the most aggressive energy efficiency policy in the world, and is on track to exceed many of its renewable energy adoption goals.
Concerning trade, Secretary Locke said there are concerns and deep structural issues to be addressed. "Chief among them is a bilateral trade imbalance that simply can't be sustained," he said. "Growth predicated on ever increasing Chinese exports being consumed by debt-laden Americans provided years of prosperity – but it also sowed some of the seeds of our current economic problems."
Mr. Locke noted that the U.S. trade deficit with China reached almost $270 billion during 2008. "In the months ahead, President Obama will seek to restore balance to that relationship," he said.
If China further opened up its domestic markets for imports and foreign direct investment, it would accelerate the world's return to growth. A free trade environment should also be accompanied by a recommitment to enforcing international trade laws and agreements. China has made progress in protecting the intellectual property of American companies operating within its borders, but much more needs to be done.
"The United States and China will continue to have our differences," said Secretary Locke, "but I believe they can be bridged both by the common values that unite our people and a recognition of the obvious – that our fates are entwined."