December 15,2006

Baucus Urges Continued Dialogue and Action In China

Senator Highlights Ongoing Concerns Over Beef, Currency, and Intellectual Property

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the incoming Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, today urged further talks and action on U.S.-China issues following the completion of the inaugural session of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. The Dialogue opened bilateral discussions on trade, investment, currency, and macroeconomic policy. The U.S. delegation to Beijing included U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab. Baucus welcomed statements made by Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke in Beijing, urging greater exchange rate flexibility and financial sector reform.

“High-level discussions between the United States and China should be frequent and forthright. We fully understand how far China has come in the past decades, but we must better understand our common path in the future,” said Baucus. “The best way to keep the U.S.-China relationship on the right track will be regular dialogue with meaningful input from Congress. But dialogue and action must go hand-in-hand. For example, greater flexibility for China's currency is overdue. Postponing further reform not only endangers our bilateral economic relationship, but also puts China's prosperity at risk.”

Baucus also backed U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab’s tough line on trade, particularly implementation of China’s commitments in the World Trade Organization (“WTO”).

“China has come a long way since it joined the WTO in 2001, but significant problems remain that we must address urgently. China continues to block shipments of U.S. beef and beef products. Intellectual property piracy remains at unacceptable levels. Discriminatory standards impede imports. And China has failed to join the Government Procurement Agreement. We need real action on these issues now.”

On his most recent trip to China, in January of this year, Baucus met with high-ranking officials including Premier Wen Jiabao to discuss many issues on the agenda of this week’s Dialogue, including trade, currency, and globalization.

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