April 20,2006

Baucus Comments on Visit of China's President

Senator Urges Continued Action to Address $202 Billion Trade Deficit

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, welcomed the visit of China’s President Hu Jintao to Washington. Baucus commended President Hu for his willingness to address important trade and economic issues but stressed that more must be done to put the U.S.-China relationship on more solid footing.

“I send a warm welcome to Hu Jintao on his first visit to Washington as President of China,” noted Baucus. “I appreciate the openness and sincerity he has displayed in tackling difficult issues in the U.S.-China relationship, particularly related to trade and investment.”

In the past several weeks, Baucus has repeatedly called on China and the United States to take steps to reduce the $202 billion trade deficit that the United States has with China. Baucus delivered a keynote address on this topic on April 10 at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He also sent a series of letters, both individually and with 16 other members of the Senate Finance Committee, outlining necessary action.

“I am encouraged by some of the commitments that China made in the past week to address our economic imbalances -- many of which I have advocated,” said Baucus. “I welcome China’s promise to lift its ban on U.S. beef. And I am pleased that China agreed to take verifiable action to reduce software piracy.”

China made these and other commitments at the conclusion of the annual Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, held on April 11 between China’s Vice Premier Minster Minister Wu Yi and United States Trade Representative Rob Portman.

“I am extremely disappointed that President Hu did not today commit to take concrete steps to allow China’s currency to reflect market forces,” continued Baucus. “The value of China’s currency is an integral part of overall efforts to correct the serious economic imbalances in the U.S.-China relationship.”

Last month, Senator Baucus and Senator Grassley introduced legislation to fundamentally misaligned currencies that harm the U.S. economy. That bill would also bolster the administration’s trade enforcement capabilities.

“President Hu’s visit – as well as last week’s trade meetings – were important first steps,” noted Baucus. “But much more needs to be done in Washington and Beijing to add balance and predictability to this century’s most important economic relationship.”