China’s leader-in-waiting has received a warm welcome in Washington but the thorny issue of trade was never far away.
Xi Jinping was told that the US is ready to compete economically but it wants a level playing field with China whose currency it considers undervalued.
Xi, China’s Vice President, stood his ground, insisting Beijing was acting on American concerns. He said talks had helped enhance mutual trust and understanding.
His US counterpart also hailed progress.
“China is committed to rebalance its economy and it has just informed us that it will move forward this year with a tax reform policy that will increase imports and promote consumption,” said Joe Biden, speaking at an event with US business leaders.
Xi, in line to assume China’s presidency in March 2013, also went to the White House.
President Obama told him that Beijing must play by the same trade rules as other major world powers. But US leverage is limited, not least because China is America’s biggest foreign creditor.