Ensure level-playing field for firms in China: Obama tells Xi


Washington, April 2: US President Barack Obama has pressed his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to ensure a level- playing field for American firms to compete fairly in China and to peacefully address differences with its neighbours on maritime issues.

“The President emphasized the importance of establishing a level-playing field for all firms to compete fairly in China,” the White House said on Friday, a day after Obama and Xi met on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit here.

The two largest economies are at loggerheads over several issues, including preventing the theft of trade secrets and opening the Chinese market more broadly to American firms.

As trade has ballooned between China and the US in recent years, tensions have grown. China exports far more goods to the US than it imports, resulting in a Chinese trade surplus.

China is increasingly dumping its steel on international markets, sometimes incurring losses, and threatening a bitter trade-war with the US.

On upholding the freedom of navigation in international waters, Obama asked China to address differences with its neighbours on maritime issues peacefully and in accordance with the international law.

He also emphasized the US global interest in upholding freedom of navigation and overflight, the White House said.

Obama reiterated America’s unwavering support for upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms in China.

On cyber issues, both leaders reaffirmed the cyber commitments announced during President Xi’s September 2015 state visit and agreed to ensure their full implementation.

“The President reiterated that we will continue to monitor whether Chinese actions demonstrate their adherence to the commitments,” the White House said.

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Obama and Xi committed to continue narrowing differences and expanding cooperation on regional and global challenges.

Both leaders agreed to sign the Paris climate agreement on April 22, to join the agreement as soon as possible this year, and to work together and with other parties to bring the Paris Agreement into force as early as possible, it said.


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