China agrees to buy $4.3b in US technology

10 May 2007

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) A delegation of Chinese business leaders committed to buying $4.3 billion in US technology, hoping to soften a political backlash to the massive trade imbalance dividing two of the world's economic powers.

The agreements were trumpeted at a ceremony, two weeks before the scheduled start of government talks in Washington where leaders will try to tackle the US' $232 billion trade deficit with China and other prickly issues.

California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi hailed 27 contracts as an 'important step in furthering the deep relationship between this state, this country and China.'

But the event's timing spurred immediate skepticism about the sincerity of China's efforts to narrow a trade gap that has tormented the US for years.

'They are not going to change their ways. This is all part of a political smoke screen,' said Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland and the former chief economist for the U.S. International Trade Commission.

To underscore China's resolve to explore more US investments, executives from more than 200 Chinese companies are meeting with their US counterparts in 24 cities scattered across 23 states, said Ma Xiuhong, vice minister of China's Ministry of Commerce.

In its first stop, just north of Silicon Valley's high-tech heartland, the Chinese coalition primarily sealed deals with computer software, semiconductor and telecommunications companies.

The US beneficiaries included high-tech bellwethers Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, and HP.

Already boasting the world's largest population, China has become an increasingly attractive market for makers of high-tech gear as the country's rapid economic growth feeds the demand for more powerful computers and more sophisticated mobile phones.

© 2007 The Associated Press

© 2007 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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