Washington — Vice President Biden told Chinese university students that China and the United States are working together to promote greater economic growth that is sustainable and balanced and trade that is free and fair.
“Trade and investment between our countries are growing rapidly in both countries, in both directions, creating jobs and economic opportunities in both countries,” Biden said in an August 21 speech at the Sichuan University Huaxi Campus in Chengdu. Biden wrapped up a five-day visit to Beijing and Chengdu before leaving for Mongolia, the next stop on a three-nation visit to Northeast Asia that will conclude in Japan.
A March U.S. Congressional Research Service analysis of the U.S. and Chinese economies says that the two trading partners are the largest and second-largest economies in the world, though the U.S. economy is three times larger than that of China. China’s economy has become a significant driver of global economic growth and China has become an important economic hub for Asia.
The analysis also states that while China is the United States’ second-largest trading partner, Chinese imports into the United States make up 19 percent of all U.S. imports. The country is the third-largest market for U.S. exports, and it is the second-largest export market for U.S. agricultural products.
In 2010, bilateral trade in goods between the United States and China totaled $457 billion, with U.S. imports from China totaling $365 billion and U.S. exports to China totaling $92 billion. By comparison, in 1979 — the year the United States and China normalized relations — total U.S.-China trade was $2 billion.
In trade in services, the United States runs a surplus with China, with exports to China of $16 billion in 2008 (the latest year for which statistics are available) and imports from China valued at $10 billion, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
“The American people and the Chinese people are hopefully becoming aware that it’s in our mutual interest in each of our countries to promote that exchange,” Biden said in Chengdu. “To state it bluntly, we have a stake in one another’s success.”
Biden told the students that the United States is working to put its long-term fiscal policies on a sustainable path. And he said it is also important that the United States and China, along with partners in the Group of 20 (G20) advanced economies, continue to sustain the global recovery and create continued economic security. The G20 has been working for the past three years to strengthen and enhance the global economy and recovery, and also to rebalance economies that have become too dependent on consumer spending or export trade.
In remarks to the university students, the vice president also sought to assure the Chinese people that the U.S. economy and Chinese investments in U.S. Treasury securities are safe despite the economic and budgetary debate in recent months in Washington. China holds about $1.17 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities.
China and the United States both need global security stability, including preventing North Korea and Iran from developing and fielding nuclear weapons and the long-range ballistic missiles to deliver them within their regions and across the globe, Biden said. Biden and President Obama have repeatedly told Asian audiences that the United States long has been an active member and partner in the Asia-Pacific region and will remain so.
“I know that China shares our concerns, but some of you may wonder why our focus — the focus of the United States — is so intense,” Biden said. “The reason is clear — if armed with nuclear weapons on long-range missiles, North Korea and Iran would pose a direct and serious threat to the security of the United States of America and our allies.”
“That is why we’ve been working with China and our international partners to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and to achieve a complete denuclearization of North Korea,” Biden added.
Biden said that without vigilant implementation of political and economic sanctions on Iran, that nation will evade the consequences of actions and measures designed to end its nuclear weapons development program.
During his speech, Biden, who is visiting China as a guest of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, said that the Obama administration has worked hard with the Chinese leadership to develop a cooperative partnership through more than 60 separate dialogues on issues of mutual concern. The premier forum that has been developed and has proven valuable is the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which brings together policymakers from both governments in regular meetings in Beijing and Washington to discuss a range of issues from trade barriers to climate change, Biden added. In addition, he said, there is a new Strategic Security Dialogue that provides a new channel for civilian and military leaders to discuss sensitive topics, including cyber and maritime security, he said.
After his Sichuan University speech, Biden and Xi visited Qingchengshan High School in Dujiangyan. The school was rebuilt after the devastating May 2008 earthquake in the Wenchuan region. While visiting the high school, Biden and Xi both signed a new Spalding basketball for the students.
Qingchengshan High School is a recipient of U.S. educational technology, including electronic whiteboards and interactive learning modules. The equipment was provided under a public-private partnership between Cisco Systems and the Sichuan province government, with support from a program by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The U.S. National Basketball Association donated four outdoor basketball courts and an indoor court to the high school and invited 100 students from the school to a funding raising exhibition game in Chengdu in 2010, according to the White House.