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U.S., China Open Annual Economic Talks

By Agence France-Presse The struggle to choke off terror financing and the economic outlook topped the agenda Sept. 9 as the United States and China opened annual economic talks in Washington, policymakers said. U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, leading the U.S. team, said both topics were on the table at the 15th gathering of the U.S.-China Joint Economic Committee. O'Neill said China and the United States shared an interest in economic growth. "I find them to be responsive and interested in the same things we are pursuing: the improvement of living standards everywhere in the world," he said at the start of the meeting. He noted that he had already met with Chinese Finance Minister Xiang Huaicheng last week at an Asia-Pacific economic gathering in Mexico, where the fight to choke off terrorist financing dominated talks. Xiang, who leads the Chinese team, said both sides have a common interest in sustaining a growing global economy and cooperating against the financing of terrorism. He said he was concerned about the U.S. economic outlook. "We hope the United States will maintain [its] momentum of sustained growth," Xiang said in his opening remarks to the committee. "We have noticed that the United States has adopted appropriate macroeconomic policies to maintain economic growth, especially the current measures for improved corporate governance." China will stand by its commitment to carry out fiscal and financial policies to sustain growth in China, he said. Beijing also will "seriously honor its commitments" to the World Trade Organization, which China joined in December 2001. Chinese membership in the WTO will give "new impetus to Sino-U.S. trade," particularly through increasing transparency, Xiang said. The joint committee's agenda includes combating terrorist financing, financial services liberalization, emerging market development, prison labor and economic development, the U.S. Treasury Department said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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