March 18, 2012 / 10:14 AM / 8 years ago

U.S. should welcome Chinese investment: minister

BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States should open up its economy wider to Chinese manufacturers and investors to help narrow the country’s trade deficit, China’s commerce minister said on Sunday.

“We hope the United States will open up so that Chinese firms can invest there and thereby increase U.S. export capacity,” Chen Deming told an economic forum in Beijing.

“The productivity of the United States is very high and the quality of its work force is very good. If the United States allows China’s manufacturers to develop there, the overall U.S. trade deficit will fall.”

Chen’s appeal is the latest from Beijing, which often complains about political barriers to investing in U.S. industries and about export restrictions Washington puts on certain technologies Chinese companies want to buy.

The United States restricts the sale to China of over 2,000 products with possible military use. Washington has said previously that it would review the export-control list, with an eye to increasing high-tech exports.

“The United States has repeatedly told us that they will open up and come with a list of products for China, but I have been hearing such talk for nearly three years and I haven’t seen it,” said Chen. “Previously, there was sound on the stairs but now I cannot hear it.”

He said China has taken steps to reduce its reliance on exports, with trade surplus as percentage of GDP falling to just over 2 percent last year.

China’s trade balance plunged $31.5 billion into the red in February as imports swamped exports to leave the largest deficit in at least a decade.

Editing by Don Durfee and Ron Popeski

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