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China's Hu: Let's strengthen ties

By Charles Riley, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao called for increased economic cooperation with the United States on Thursday, telling business leaders that both countries would benefit from an expanded trade relationship.

"China wants to work with the United States to forge a framework of broader and stronger economic cooperation." Hu said. "We can carry out fiscal, financial and business cooperation on a larger scale."

Hu delivered his remarks at a luncheon co-hosted by the U.S.-China Business Council and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

The speech is the only solo address listed on the visiting president's schedule, and was well attended by both business leaders and public policy experts, including U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

Focusing on the similarities between the United States and China, rather than the differences, Hu stressed the interconnected nature of today's global economy. He and said both countries need to "seize opportunities and take innovative steps to build a new pattern of mutually beneficial economic cooperation."

Hu cited cooperation in the energy, environment, agriculture and health sectors as examples of mutually beneficial progress, and said he hopes to see those efforts broaden into new areas such as aviation, space exploration and infrastructure.

"In this way, we will make our business ties even stronger and create more jobs and wealth for our people," Hu said.

Earlier Thursday, Hu received a chilly reception from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, many of whom have been highly critical of Chinese trade and human rights policies.

But the whirlwind official state visit has also produced incremental signs of progress, and a tone of increased cooperation between the two economic powers. On Wednesday, Hu and Obama played host to business leaders at the White House.

In a press conference following that meeting, Obama sounded a cooperative note, saying that an increase in friendly competition between the two countries will make both economies stronger.

But Obama also specifically brought up two hot-button issues -- intellectual property rights and Chinese currency policy -- that are among the business community's biggest concerns about China's commitment to fair play.

"I did also stress to President Hu that there has to be a level playing field for American companies competing in China," Obama said. "Trade has to be fair."  To top of page

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