WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said on Friday he will travel to China this year to promote sales of U.S. clean energy goods as part of the Obama administration’s effort to fight global warming.
“This would be a win-win for jobs in the United States, as well as addressing a very serious problem of the planet,” Locke told Reuters in an interview.
Locke said he has asked U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu to join him on “a trip to China focusing on energy and on environmental protection and climate change.”
Locke and Chu are the first Chinese Americans to hold their current jobs.
The United States has a huge trade deficit with China that totaled a record $266.3 billion last year. The Obama administration hopes boosting sales of clean energy and environmental products could help turn that around.
President Barack Obama also has placed a big priority on passing legislation this year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, as well as reaching a new international accord to cut the emissions.
Locke’s trade mission, which a U.S. government official said is targeted for September, is one of several high-level U.S.-China contacts planned this year.
The last is a meeting in Beijing between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao that could take place in November, around the time of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore.
The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, led on the U.S. side by the State and Treasury departments, is tentatively scheduled for late July, the U.S. government official said.
Another forum, the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade is slated for late October.
Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk co-chair the JCCT for the United States. It focuses on nuts-and-bolts trade issues as opposed to longer-term themes discussed in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Eric Walsh