US and Chinese companies signed 32 business deals on Monday worth US$10.6 billion, while top US and Chinese officials said the two countries must cooperate on trade to help restore global growth.
“History tells us that openness and cooperation is all the more important amidst a crisis,” Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming (陳德銘) said in a speech just before China Telecom (中國電信) signed contracts with Cisco, Microsoft, Dell and Emerson.
“Trade protectionism will not restore growth. On the contrary, it will exacerbate recession,” Chen said.
China Mobile (中國移動通信) inked deals with HP, Alcatel-Lucent, Oracle, Emerson, Sun Microsystems and Cisco, while China Construction Bank (中國建設銀行) signed with Microsoft, IBM, HP and Cisco.
Specific details of the individual deals, which also included Ford and Amway with their Chinese counterparts, were not released.
But Chen said they showed China’s “unequivocal” opposition to protectionism and how growth in the Chinese economy would help create jobs abroad.
In an opinion piece in yesterday’s Asian Wall Street Journal, Chen said that US trade protectionism against China is growing, putting bilateral economic ties to the test. He also said that China was not pursuing a trade surplus with the US.
“History tells us that the more serious a crisis becomes, the more committed we must be to openness and cooperation. Regrettably, however, trade measures by the US against China are on the rise,” Chen wrote.
He said US industries had petitioned the US government for anti-dumping investigations, and for investigations under WTO rules that could lead to restrictions of imports of Chinese products.
“This will seriously test China-US economic and trade relations,” he said.
China’s persistent trade surplus with the US hit a record US$266.3 billion last year and has been a source of tension between Beijing and Washington.
In February, the US trade deficit with China stood at US$14.2 billion, compared with US$20.6 billion in January.
However, the global recession has hurt both countries’ exports and increased the temptation for governments around the world to raise import barriers to protect local companies.