Chinese Premier Urges U.S. to Ease High-Tech Export Restrictions

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said he expects the U.S. will open the way for more high-tech exports to China as trade representatives from the two countries meet in Beijing for an annual bilateral meeting.

“We expect the U.S. to relax restrictions on high-tech exports to China and provide a good environment for Chinese businesses to invest in the United States,” Li said yesterday in a meeting with the U.S. delegation, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman met Li yesterday ahead of a gathering of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade today. The talks come after Communist Party leaders vowed at a November meeting, known as the third plenum, to reduce the state’s role in the economy, free up interest rates and let markets play a decisive role. China’s total trade with the U.S. rose by 45.28 percent from 2008 to reach $485 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Pritzker said she hoped China would begin taking steps to implement the reforms. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was also there.

“Clearly we are entering a moment of opportunity in the US-China relationship,” Pritzker said today in opening remarks made alongside Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang. “We should seize this moment to take both short-term and long-term steps that show we will pursue a balanced and ever-growing trade and investment relationship.”

Areas the two countries need to focus on are intellectual property rights, services liberalization, government procurement, agriculture and other market access and regulatory issues, Pritzker said.

‘American Friends’

“The recent Third Plenum has made significant arrangements for deepening reform and opening up,” Wang said. “I believe it also met what our American friends wanted.”

At yesterday’s meeting, Li called economic cooperation the ballast of China-U.S.relations and said the two countries should improve cooperation.

“Both sides should tap potential for further cooperation, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, properly handle differences and seek sound and steady growth of bilateral relations,” Li said at yesterday’s meeting, according to Xinhua.

Chinese investors were subjected to more than double the number of U.S. national-security panel reviews in 2012 compared with a year earlier, overtaking the U.K. as the most scrutinized foreign buyers of American assets.

U.S. Assets

Twenty-three proposed Chinese acquisitions of U.S. assets were reviewed last year by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., up from 10 in 2011 and six in 2010, the panel said in its annual report to Congress. Seventeen U.K. deals were reviewed, down from 25 a year earlier and 26 in 2010.

The committee, an inter-agency group called CFIUS that’s headed by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, said the total number of reviews rose to 114 last year from 111 a year earlier. The number of applications withdrawn gained to 22 from six a year before, according to the report. Some companies pull their their applications back when they expect their deal might get rejected, it said.

Also in 2012, President Barack Obama barred Ralls Corp., a company owned by Chinese nationals, from building wind farms near and within restricted airspace used by the U.S. Navy, the first time in 22 years a president has issued a formal order blocking a transaction as a national-security risk.

The CFIUS report doesn’t list the companies that were subject to reviews.

This year, the panel approved the takeover of Sprint Nextel Corp., the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier, by Tokyo-based SoftBank Corp. and the biggest Chinese purchase of a U.S. firm - - Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.’s acquisition of Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s largest hog and pork producer.

-- Henry Sanderson and Kasia Klimasinska, with assistance from Sara Forden in Washington. Editors: Neil Western, Nick Wadhams

— With assistance by Henry Sanderson, and Kasia Klimasinska

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