WASHINGTON – The United States and China jointly pledged Monday to increase cooperation in efforts to choke off financing for terrorist organizations.
Chinese officials also said they were moving to open China's vast market to more foreign products.
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Chinese Finance Minister Xiang Huaicheng made the commitments on terrorist financing at the start of a daylong session of the U.S.-China Joint Economic Committee, a panel of top economic officials from both countries that seeks to promote closer economic cooperation.
O'Neill said he was pleased with pledges to crack down on terrorist finances from last week's meeting of finance ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
He said the administration was focusing on "ensuring that finance ministries around the world are doing their part in pursuing the next phase in the war on terrorism finance.''
Xiang said that China had responded to the administration's requests in this area and he believed that "effective cooperation has been achieved'' over the past year.
Neither official, in brief remarks at the beginning of the session, made mention of a recent critical United Nations report saying that the global campaign to choke off terrorist financing had stalled, with only $10 million frozen in the past eight months.
Speaking through a translator, Xiang also said that China planned to "seriously honor'' the commitments it made to open its huge market to U.S. and other foreign-made products as part of the agreement that cleared the way for the country to join the World Trade Organization late last year.
While U.S. exports to China have climbed to record levels this year, imports of Chinese goods have risen as well, giving Beijing the largest trade surplus with the United States, surpassing Japan.
The administration has vowed to closely watch trade with China to make sure that the country is giving the access to U.S. manufacturers, farmers and service companies that it pledged to provide as part of its WTO membership.