Closing Remarks for U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue
Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. We have just finished a very thorough, intense, and productive two days. Secretary Geithner and I were honored to co-chair the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and we have been delighted to host Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Dai and the entire Chinese delegation.
What has taken place over the past two days is unprecedented in U.S.-China relations. The meetings we have just concluded represent the largest gathering ever of top leaders from our two countries. The range of issues covered was unparalleled. And the result is that we have laid the foundation for a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship for the 21st century.
Our governments released a joint statement summarizing our discussions. During our meetings, we spoke candidly about some of the world’s most difficult challenges. We agreed that further cooperation and action is needed to achieve global economic recovery, to promote stability in Northeast Asia, resume the Six-Party Talks, and implement UN Security Council Resolution 1874 to address ongoing threats of violent extremism and nuclear proliferation, to encourage Iran to live up to its international obligations, and to work toward peace and stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East.
We made progress in working toward the global nuclear security summit that President Obama has called for next spring. And I’m pleased to announce that we will be conducting U.S.-China talks on counterterrorism this fall. We agreed to a continuation and expansion of our military-to-military relations and to robust educational, cultural, scientific, and people-to-people diplomacy.
For our part, the United States was proud to reaffirm our participation in the Shanghai World Expo next year. And later this evening, we and our Chinese colleagues will participate in a dinner of American business leaders and citizens supporting that effort. In areas where we do not always agree, such as human rights, we had candid and respectful exchanges.
We also today, representing the world’s two biggest producers and consumers of energy, completed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation on climate change, energy, and the environment. This MOU affirmed our commitment to reaching a successful international agreement on climate change and will expand our cooperation to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.
These are just a few of the concrete discussions and achievements of this first Strategic and Economic Dialogue. It represents 30 years of progress, because in many ways, we are building on the work that has gone before and taking it to a new level. But sometimes, the most telling measures of progress are less tangible. Over the past two days, State Councilor Dai and I have spent many hours in discussion. We’ve had the opportunity to meet privately and to talk very openly between ourselves to try to understand each other’s point of view. And I know the same is true for Secretary Geithner and Vice Premier Wang.
Our delegations have spent hours in consultation and negotiation, and we’ve not been limited to just the usual topic or two. We’ve enlisted partners from across our government to work across departments and bureaus and agencies to tackle these difficult challenges that we are facing together. Climate change and energy security, for example, is an economic issue, a diplomatic issue, a development issue, an energy issue, an environmental issue, an agricultural issue, and a national security issue all rolled into one. And so it must be addressed in its full complexity. We have made a good start on that and we look forward to continuing it in the future.
This dialogue has established a new pattern of cooperation between our governments and a forum for discussion. It’s begun to develop a structure for moving forward on this range of issues. Now we know there’s a lot of work ahead, but we began this process at the beginning of the Obama Administration for a purpose, because we knew it would take time and effort and patience, and we are willing and eager to continue.
Sunday night, the state councilor and I and a few of our aides were having dinner, and in the course of what was a very relaxed and social occasion, we were discussing our families. And State Councilor Dai informed us that he had a new grandson. As we began talking, we realized that all that we were doing was really on behalf of our children and our grandchildren. I said that perhaps at the beginning of every government dialogue, we should all take out pictures of our children and our grandchildren and put them on the tables in front of us to be reminded of what was at stake in our high-level negotiations. As State Councilor Dai said, those photos would remind us of the task ahead and of our responsibility to move forward and of the future we are trying to build.
We just finished meeting with President Obama and he expressed his appreciation to President Hu for working to set forth this dialogue, starting at their meeting in London. We are committed to taking the next steps on this journey together. And I thank our Chinese colleagues for a very important beginning. It is now my privilege to introduce Secretary Tim Geithner.
SECRETARY GEITHNER: A few highlights on the economic front: I want to begin by just underscoring the importance of the actions China and the United States have taken together to help bring the world economy back from the edge of the most acute crisis we’ve seen in decades, and to begin to lay the foundation for financial repair and global growth again.
We reached agreement today on a framework to lay the foundation for more sustainable and balanced growth between our two countries and globally going forward. And that framework rests on four critical areas of cooperation. First, we agreed that we would undertake macroeconomic and structural policies to lay the foundation for a more sustainable and balanced trajectory of growth.
In the United States, this means raising private savings. We’ve already seen a pretty substantial increase in private savings. Our current account and balance has fallen sharply. And the President has committed that as we put in place conditions for a durable recovery led by private demand, we will bring our fiscal position down to a more sustainable level over time.
We are making very substantial investments in improving public infrastructure, energy efficiency, improving the quality of education, healthcare reform – policy changes that will help rebuild the American economy on a firmer foundation going forward.
For China, this means rebalancing towards domestic demand-led growth and increasing the share of consumption relative to GDP. Policies to enable adjustment of demand and relative prices will help lead to more balanced trading growth, greater development of the service sector and the shift away from dependence on exports and heavy industry will have a powerful effect, not just on rebalancing the global economy, but supporting the transition to a more green economy.
Second area of cooperation is in the financial area. We agreed to work to build more resilient, more stable financial systems. Our challenges in this area are very different. In the United States, we need to put in place much stronger oversight with much stronger constraints on leverage, more conservative capital requirements applied more broadly across our financial system, to bring markets that are critical to credit and innovation, such as in the derivatives area under a framework of oversight, to give the government better tools, stronger tools to deal with, manage, limit the damage caused by future financial crises.
China, in contrast, is moving towards a more market-oriented financial system. And it’s indicated in this – in our meetings today its intention to move forward with financial sector reform that’ll help better allocate credit in – to reinforce this shift towards domestic demand. In this context, China will, of course, bring about further liberalization of interest rates, domestic interest rates, to promote the development of new financial products, open new opportunities for foreign participation in the financial sector, including allowing foreign banks to underwrite bonds in China’s rapidly growing bond market.
Third area of cooperation is in the trade and investment area. We reaffirmed our very important commitment to open – an open, rules-based, multilateral regime for trade and investment. We reiterated our commitment to avoid protectionist measures to bring about a success – and to bring about a successful conclusion to the Doha round. China and the United States committed to treating firms with foreign ownership operating in our markets exactly as we do domestically owned firms when it comes to government procurement. We agreed to work together to facilitate Chinese accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, and China will increase the dollar threshold for foreign direct investments that must obtain central government approval.
Fourth and finally, China and the United States recognized the critical role of the international financial institutions in preventing future crises. The global economy has changed fundamentally since the Bretton Woods Institutions were created more than 50 years ago, and the global financial architecture has to adapt to reflect the new realities of this global economy.
So we have committed to work closely together to help reform these institutions, to make sure they have the resources to respond to future crises to help meet the economic and development needs of their members, and to bring about changes in the governing structure of these institutions to make sure China enjoys a level of participation that’s commensurate with its substantial economic and financial weight in the world.
We look forward to building on this framework of cooperation. We look forward to continuing to intensify the very substantial progress we achieved today on this broad framework for cooperation. And I want to thank in particular Vice Premier Wang for his leadership and for his dedication to make this a productive relationship for both of us. Thank you very much.
I now give the floor to Vice Premier Wang.
VICE PREMIER WANG: (Via interpreter) Dear friends from the news media, good afternoon. Under the direct guidance of President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama, and through the concerted efforts of both sides, this round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues was a full success.
In the economic dialogue, the two sides focused on the main topic of the international financial crisis, acted in a spirit of cooperation, had in-depth discussion on strategic issues concerning the two economies, and produced many important results. The two sides recognized that at this crucial, critical time when the global economy is moving out of the crisis and toward recovery, to stimulate economic growth remains the top priority for China-U.S. cooperation. The two sides need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, stabilize financial markets, and work to restore economic growth and create jobs.
At the same time, the two sides should actively transform economic growth patterns focused on restructuring, step up cooperation in such areas as healthcare reform and development of the social security system, and promote sustainable economic development. The two sides stated that they will strengthen cooperation to jointly build a strong financial system to ensure financial security and stability in the two countries and the world at large.
The U.S. side pledged to monitor closely the influence of its monetary policies on the U.S. economy and on the rest of the world, and to have strong oversight of the government-sponsored enterprises to ensure that they are able to meet their financial obligations. The two sides agreed to inform each other of their disposal of impaired financial assets on a regular basis.
The two sides stressed the importance to take strong measures to raise the level of economic cooperation and trade, and improve its quality. The U.S. side pledged to facilitate exports of high-technology products from the United States to China. The U.S. side is willing to step up cooperation with the Chinese side to work toward recognition of China’s market economy status in an expeditious manner. The two sides will work together to support increasing investment in infrastructure, continue to advance negotiations on bilateral investment agreement, and enhance cooperation in trade finance.
China and the United States will work with the international community to implement the consensus of the G-20 summits in Washington and London, strengthen coordination, and ensure that the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh will deliver positive results. China and the United States will work together to promote the reform process of the international financial system and increase the voices and representation of emerging and developing countries.
The two sides stated that they are firmly opposed to protectionism in all forms and work for early success of the WTO Doha round negotiations on the basis of locking up the existing achievements. The two sides will see to it that the UN MDGs be met as scheduled. The success of the economic dialogue has lent fresh impetus to the development of the positive, cooperative, and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century. Thank you. I’ve been speaking so fastly because I provided transcript and I want to save time.
To conclude, I wish to extend to Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner and the U.S. team that they lead my appreciation. And I want to thank, in particular, our friends from the media. Our dialogue, through your support, have been further advocated and you have helped us to put down some speculations. Any meeting in isolation of the media, its influence, will be greatly diminished. Talking about influence, there are positive ones and negative ones. There are accurate ones and sometimes not-so-accurate ones. It happens.
So with the help of the media, we are spreading information about what we are doing, and we need to bear the consequences and imperfections. I’ve been dealing with you – with the media for many years. Thank you for your support. Thank you.
STATE COUNCILOR DAI: (Via interpreter) I would like to provide a piece of news. Just now, President Obama met us and he gave a basketball to Vice Premier Wang with his signature, and Vice Premier Wang hit it well while it’s here. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Do a spin. (Laughter.)
STATE COUNCILOR DAI: (Via interpreter) Dear friends from the press, I’m happy to meet you here. You all know that the China-U.S. S&ED – you know the story how it came into existence. That was decided by President Hu Jintao and President Obama during their meeting in London during the G-20 summit. They made the decision together to build such a mechanism. I think this is a continuation and development of the previous dialogues. It is also a creation.
How did the dialogues go? The three special representatives have said a lot and I would like to add a few things. I think the dialogues were successful. We discussed a wide range of issues except for going to the moon. Of course, we had our discussions openly, and I think the discussions are in-depth, broad, candid, and productive. What has happened proves and history will continue to prove in the future that the decision made by our two presidents to conduct such dialogues is absolutely right and important. Many years from now when we look back, we will understand better its importance.
In the future, I am looking forward to continuing our efforts together with the three special representatives with commitment and efforts of our two presidents to make our dialogues better. Of course, another important mission is to turn what we said into actions. This is more important.
And secondly, I wish to say that you can read the joint press release that is going to be provided very soon. The document talks about President Obama’s upcoming visit to China within this year. And on the Chinese side, we will work together closely with the U.S. side to make good preparations to ensure that President Obama’s visit will be made on schedule and will be very successful, that it will become a historic visit.
Thirdly, I wish to talk about, as you saw yesterday after the opening ceremony, President Obama made a very important speech. He talked about the China-U.S. relations. I suggest, my friends from the press, carefully read the script of President Obama’s speech. In the past half year since the inauguration of the new Administration, the China-U.S. relations have set off to a good start and it has enjoyed a sound momentum of growth. China is ready to work together with the U.S. to stay firmly committed to building a China-U.S. positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relations for the 21st century so that we can bring benefits to our two peoples and our two countries and also the whole world, and to our children and children’s children.
To ensure that our bilateral relationship will move forward on the track of long-term and sound development, a very important thing is that we need to support, respect, and understand each other, and to maintain our core interests. And for China, our concern is we must uphold our basic systems, our national security; and secondly, the sovereignty and territorial integrity; and thirdly, economic and social sustained development.
What I would like to say is that China and the United States, from the government, business communities, and to ordinary people, from the militaries and all walks of life, we must work together, and we can make China-U.S. relations enjoy an even more beautiful future.
Just now, as Vice Premier Wang said, the Chinese team is appreciative of what the American Government and our hosts have done. I would like to thank them for their gracious hospitality and thoughtful arrangements. Especially, I would like to thank Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner for the tremendous efforts that were put into the dialogues. It was not easy. There is such a great number of participants. We talked about so many topics and such a huge number of government departments and ministries were involved and the dialogues were so in-depth, and all these were unprecedented in the past three decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
And I also wish to thank everyone who cares about and supports the growth of China-U.S. relationship, including our friends from the press. You have done a lot. Vice Premier Wang said that the role of the media organizations is very important. I believe you strongly boost – you can strongly boost relations between our two countries and promote friendship and mutual understanding between the two peoples. Thank you very much.