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Chinese ascent growing source of concern: US

Ahead of the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States, a top Obama Administration official today said the speed of China's ascent and its policies was a growing source of concern not only for America but also for other countries.

world Updated: Jan 12, 2011 22:19 IST

Ahead of the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States, a top Obama Administration official on Wednesday said the speed of China's ascent and its policies was a growing source of concern not only for America but also for other countries.

"China presents enormous economic opportunities for the United States and for the world, but its size, the speed of its ascent, and its policies are a growing source of concern in the United States and in many other countries," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in his address to a major think-tank in Washington.

In its economic relationship with China, Geithner said the US has focused on two principal objectives.

The first is to expand opportunities for US companies to export and sell to the Chinese market.

"Our second objective is to promote reforms that will reduce China's reliance on export-led growth and encourages a shift to domestic consumption and investment. As part of this, China's exchange rate needs to strengthen in response to market forces," Geithner said.

Listing out US concerns regarding Beijing, Geithner said the commanding heights of China's economy and its financial system are still dominated by the government.

"Chinese companies and workers are able to take advantage of a range of preferences and subsidies and operate behind trade barriers that give them a competitive advantage relative to US and other foreign firms and workers," he said.

"They get access to low-cost finance, land, and energy. They enjoy preferences in terms of access to government contracts. Next, theft of intellectual property remains widespread in China, across many industries," he said.

"Where these practices violate China's international commitments, we are actively using the remedies available under US and international trade laws to protect our interests," Geithner said adding that China has been gradually moving to address some of these concerns.

The government recently launched a new enforcement effort to combat the theft of intellectual property and to force Chinese companies to pay for the intellectual property they use.

"Government domination limits competitiveness within the Chinese economy and prevents the private sector from contributing to growth at its full potential. And you can not promote innovation if you do not protect intellectual property," Geithner said.