Beijing, May 3
China has shifted its position to agree to abide by international rules on providing credit to exporters, a point of friction with other major economies, a US official said Thursday.
The United States and most other major developed countries are part of the International Arrangement on Export Credits, which aims to level the playing field on the support that governments provide to export businesses.
A US official, in Beijing for the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the world’s two largest economies, said China voiced a readiness about “sitting down and negotiating” to be part of the arrangement.
“Since China is by some measures the largest provider of export credits in the world, it is a very important shift,” the official said on customary condition of anonymity.
“I believe we’re seeing a very noticeable shift on the part of Chinese authorities, deciding they want to reform their export credit system in a way that’s consistent with a new set of international rules,” she said.
China’s export credits are one of a list of trading practices that have irritated the United States. Many US lawmakers contend that China artificially keeps its currency low so it can flood the world with cheap manufactured goods.
The official, echoing remarks earlier Thursday by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, acknowledged that China has allowed its yuan to rise in the past two years but called for further appreciation.
Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are in Beijing for the two-day talks, which opened Thursday under a cloud due to a row over a leading Chinese dissident who fled to the US embassy.
The United States also supports its business overseas through the Export-Import Bank, although the institution is unpopular with some conservative lawmakers who say that it violates free market principles.