WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. is seeking a more balanced trade relationship with China at talks Wednesday that could set the tone for cooperation after political transitions in the world's two largest economies.
The annual joint commission on commerce and trade meeting comes weeks after President Barack Obama's re-election and the elevation of new leaders of China's ruling Communist Party.
Few concrete outcomes are expected, but Washington will be looking for signs of the economic policy direction under new Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The U.S. wants China to stimulate domestic demand and become less reliant on export growth and allow more market access for American companies.
Xi is already under domestic pressure to revive a Chinese economy that has slowed some after three decades of rapid growth. China is expected to seek reassurances from the U.S. side that Chinese companies' ability to invest in America won't be hampered by national security concerns.
The two nations share more than $500 billion in two-way trade, heavily weighted in China's favor. The U.S. has stepped trade complaints against China, and will be seeking better enforcement of intellectual property rights and an end to discriminatory government procurement policies.
Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said economic ties between the two countries have never been more important. She said it was a "unique moment" with leadership transitions in both countries, and called for progress toward a "balanced and ever-growing trade and investment relationship."
Vice Premier Wang Qishan, who is leading the Chinese delegation, said the world economy is not in good shape and countries need to ensure growth.
Wang has been China's point man on financial and trade policy with the United States but will soon be giving up that portfolio. He was last month elevated to a spot in the elite seven-man Politburo Standing Committee and will lead the fight against corruption.