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US-China Trade: Calls for Reform

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report, from http://voaspecialenglish.com | http://facebook.com/voalearningenglishLast week, we told about a recent talk in Washington on trade ties between the United States and China. Former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson spoke with Former National Security Advisor Steve Hadley. The two men talked about the recent slowdown in the Chinese economy and the need for more personal spending in China.They also discussed the need for China to reform its state-owned companies. These companies often operate with low interest loans and a lot of help from the government. In July, President Obama said China was creating "an unfair playing field" in its car industry. That same month, the Obama administration requested talks, or consultations, at the World Trade Organization. The United States says China has unfairly placed more than $3 billion in taxes on imports of American-made cars. Officials say increasing the price of imports helps Chinese carmakers. Mister Paulson said Chinese government aid for state-owned companies, like oil companies and carmakers, will end up hurting China's economy. Mr. Paulson said this: "The only way that the Chinese are going to be able to successfully make the transition that they're going to need to make to an economy that's much more efficient is by continuing to reform the state owned enterprises." He said these state-owned companies need to compete fairly "without all the subsidies and the special benefits." Chinese exports to the United States remain strong. Demand for Chinese goods rose more than 11 percent in June. And China says total trade so far this year is nearly $2 trillion. That is up eight percent. China's strong imports have helped the country raise millions out of poverty.These gains were noted at human rights talks in July between the United States and China. But, American officials say political reforms in China have been slow. The head of the American delegation, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner noted China's economic gains. But he said political reforms in the country have not kept up with its economic changes. He said the human rights situation in China continues to get worse.Mr. Posner said: "Like people everywhere, Chinese people want to be treated with dignity. This means they seek economic opportunity and jobs. At the same time, they seek a lawful way to voice legitimate grievances and have a meaningful role in the political development of their own society."And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. I'm Carolyn Presutti. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 27Jul2012)
Length: 04:02

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