Thursday, June 19, 2008

U.S.-China Financial Pact?

China's deputy prime minister Wang Qishan and U.S. treasury secretary Henry Paulson are cautiously optimistic, at the end of their dialogue, that the path is open to a U.S.-China "financial pact" that would help to open up both U.S. and Chinese markets to the companies of the other side. The two also talked about a decade-long "framework" for dealing with energy security and climate change.

All of this is predicated on acceptance of a quid pro quo relationship, with both sides granting and receiving concessions.

What will be interesting to see is the reception the Chinese delegation receives on the Hill. My worry, as I've been expressing as of late, is that Congress tends to see agreements with other states not as win/win scenarios, with both sides engaged in give and take, but as magnanimous concessions of the United States.

Hopefully, a financial pact between Beijing and Washington could begin to bring political clarity to the economic relationship; for too long, both sides have allowed a major imbalance to develop where the economies are increasingly intertwined and interdependent but without a sufficiently robust political framework in which this relationship can be mediated.

China is playing you guys. Beijing knows you have outgoing lame duck administration and that new guys won't be ready for at least six months. This buys them time and gives appearance they are 'receptive' to your concerns.
Anonymous 9:42, those concerns are shared by some here: Reuters is now reporting:

Senior Democratic lawmakers immediately criticized the plan, warning the Bush administration that they have serious concerns about moving forward with investment talks in the waning months of the Bush term.
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