Today in Beijing, the United States and China concluded the third meeting of the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) – a Cabinet-level conversation between the two countries on short and long-term economic issues. U.S. Representatives Mark Kirk (IL-10) and Rick Larsen (WA-02), co-chairs of the U.S.-China Working Group in the U.S. House of Representatives, released the following statement on the SED:
“Overall, the results of the SED are positive and encouraging. Secretary Paulson negotiated several breakthroughs in the financial services sector which will lead to long-term stability for the Chinese economy and greater access for foreign investors.
“The SED also produced watershed agreements in the area of greatest potential for U.S.-China cooperation – environmental protection – including sulfur fuels, biofuels, illegal logging and emissions trading.
“However, on the issue of toy and product safety, this round of dialogue gets a failing grade. As American families head to the toy store to do their holiday shopping, we must be able to assure them that the presents they buy for their children are safe.
“With no visible forward movement on this issue, the SED largely punted on one of the most important and immediate U.S.-China issues facing the Congress.
“Our relationship with China will be the most important diplomatic relationship of the 21st century. Continuing our high-level conversations with China will be critical to continued progress on the issues that matter to the American people.
“The U.S. Congress needs to realize that one of the best ways to get progress with the Chinese is to bring them to the table. If Congress – as well as the next President -- support a strong SED, there will be more opportunities to solve our ongoing challenges with China.”