Bloomberg | April 2, 2010 | 18:00 EDT
China’s trade disputes with the US have been “amplified” and in some cases are no worse than those with other countries, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said ahead of a visit to Washington this month by President Hu Jintao. Kirk declined to single out China as a protectionist nation in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt” airing this weekend. The US and China, with $409 billion in annual trade, have a complex relationship that holds “great promise,” Kirk said. “Our challenges with China I think get amplified because there’s so much attention focused on China,” Kirk said. “But we have challenges throughout Asia.”
President Barack Obama would like to complete at least one of three pending trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama this year, Kirk said. While he declined to say which accord would come first, Kirk said the administration is making “good progress” on resolving labor and tax issues with Panama. Bipartisan cooperation will be required on trade issues to keep the US competitive with other countries that are lowering tariffs, Kirk said. He has met with representatives of labor unions and congressional Democrats over the past 14 months to try to defuse the emotions surrounding trade, Kirk said.
“We’re not going to be able to move forward if we have a poisoned political environment in Washington in which every issue that comes up becomes the next health care,” Kirk said. “If we do it right, we ought to be able to thread the needle in a way that we can answers some of their criticisms honestly but still
BBC News | Friday, 2 April 2010 | 05:42 GMT
US President Barack Obama discussed the Iranian nuclear issue in an hour-long telephone call with China’s President Hu Jintao, the White House says. Mr Obama "underscored the importance of working together to ensure that Iran lives up to its international obligations," a US statement said. For his part, President Hu called for "healthy and stable" relations. The two leaders also discussed Taiwan and the importance of implementing G20 agreements to boost economic growth.
The call came a day after Iran’s top nuclear official, Saeed Jalili, arrived in China for talks, after which China’s foreign minister said he still hoped the issue could be resolved through negotiations. China, a veto-wielding UN Security Council member with strong ties to Iran, has in the past expressed reluctance to see new sanctions imposed. Beijing says it wants a peaceful outcome. Mr Obama, meanwhile, has said he hopes to have sanctions in place "within weeks". The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said on Thursday that China was ready to hold "serious" talks with Western powers on a new UN resolution. Western powers claim Iran seeks nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.