By Oliver Hall
US President Barack Obama has touched down in China today on a mission to convince Beijing that Washington is its partner, not its rival.
And a series of high-level meetings will bring trade issues into sharp focus, including the Obama administrations decision to impose tariffs on Chinese tyres.
A powerful US union had claimed that the cheap tyres imported from China were damaging the domestic industry and causing widespread job losses.
But the decision was slammed as “protectionist” and a hindrance to world recovery, by the Chinese.
However, when Obama meets the Chinese President Hu Jintao and other officials on Tuesday, he is expected to counter by again urging China to reconsider the value of the yuan, which has been effectively pegged to the dollar since July 2008, when the global crisis hit key export markets for Chinese-made goods.
Obama, in a wide-ranging speech on his policy towards Asia in Tokyo on Saturday, said the United States did not seek to “contain” China and in fact welcomed its rising political and economic clout.
“The United States does not seek to contain China, nor does a deeper relationship with China mean a weakening of our bilateral alliances,” Obama said.
“On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations.”