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It has been 30 years since the United States and China established formal relations, and Deng Xiaoping launched China's economic reform and opening to the world. Since then, China's gross domestic product has grown from a mere $176 billion to more than $4 trillion. "To keep up with these changes that affect our citizens and our planet," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "we need to update our official ties with Beijing." That's why U.S. and Chinese officials met in Washington, D.C. July 27 and 28 for the Strategic and Economic Dialogue to develop a new framework for U.S.-China relations.
A top priority is bringing about the recovery from the most serious global economic crisis in generations and assuring balanced and sustained global growth once recovery has taken hold. When the current crisis struck, the U.S. and China acted quickly to support economic activity and to create jobs.
"Recognizing that cooperation between China and the United States will remain vital not only to the well being of our two nations but also the health of the global economy, we agreed to undertake policies to bring about sustainable, balanced global growth once economic recovery is firmly in place," said U.S. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner following the meetings.
Americans need to rebuild their savings. The U.S. must strengthen its financial system and invest in energy, education, and healthcare in order to increase productivity and prosperity. China, too, needs to continue to reform its financial sector and promote development. China needs to spur domestic demand and make its economy less reliant on exports. Raising personal incomes and strengthening the social safety net would help to address the reasons why Chinese feel compelled to save so much and would provide a powerful boost to Chinese domestic demand and global growth.
The U.S. and China need to avoid the temptation to close off their respective markets to trade and investment. Both countries must work to create new opportunities for American and Chinese workers and companies to compete equally.
Other important issues discussed included climate change, energy, and the environment. Both countries need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while promoting economic recovery, and sustainable development. The U.S. and China are also seeking complimentary approaches to security challenges such as those posed by North Korea, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.