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China signs $600m deal with US
Tue, 18 Jan 2011 08:17:43 GMT
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Workers at the White House prepare for the Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington
The Chinese government has signed major trade deals with US companies worth $600 million ahead of a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States.

A Chinese delegation began a four-day trade mission on Monday to the United States ahead of President Hu's visit to Washington.

The Chinese president's visit is deemed as the most important since the former Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, visited Washington 30 years ago.

China's vice commerce minister Wang Chao led a business delegation to Houston, signing two cotton import agreements, an agreement on the import of assembly kits, an agreement on the “development and application of efficient crystalline silicon solar cells and photovoltaic generation system,” and a deal on porcelain imports.

“These six deals are just the start of further strengthening Chinese-US economic cooperation,” Wang was quoted as saying.

He further pointed out that the agreements were aimed at increasing Chinese imports of US goods and its investment in the United States.

China frequently announces such deals in connection with high-profile foreign trips by its leaders in hopes of creating a positive atmosphere for the visit.

President Hu is due to meet this week with US President Barack Obama amid tensions over trade and Chinese currency control.

During his last visit in 2006, former US president George W Bush is said to have insulted Hu, when he opted for lunch rather than a state dinner.

Over the past year, relations between Washington and Beijing have become increasingly tense and mistrustful.

A simmering currency row, human rights issues, the North Korea crisis and China's military ambitions have all stressed Sino-US ties.

Scarred by a financial meltdown and a slow recovery, the United States meanwhile wishes to encourage the world's fastest growing economy to engage in commercial and trade deals worth tens of billions of dollars.

Trade between the US and China is currently worth $400 billion, up from $100 million 30 years ago, when the United States formalized relations with China.

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