WASHINGTON – President Bush tried to put Chinese President Hu Jintao on notice Thursday about some of the trading concerns that he plans to bring up next week during their visit at the White House.
Bush told a meeting of the Small Business Week Conference that China needs to implement reforms to show trading partners around the world that it "plays by the rules."
"America values China as a trading partner, but we expect China to live up to its commitments," Bush said after mentioning that he looks forward to meeting with Hu next week.
"China needs to make itself more transparent," the president said. "China needs to enforce intellectual property rights. China needs to take additional steps to address the trade imbalance between our countries. And China needs to move to a flexible market-based currency."
Bush's audience of business owners applauded his stance.
U.S. manufacturers say China depresses the value of its currency to make Chinese goods cheaper for U.S. consumers and American products more expensive in China. The United States has a $202 billion trade deficit with China.
While the president may be planning some tough talk for Hu behind closed doors, he's staging a friendly reception for the Chinese leader in public.
Bush will welcome Hu in a special ceremony on the South Lawn before their meeting. Afterward, Bush and the first lady plan a social lunch for Hu and his wife.
The White House said Thursday that the leaders do not plan a news conference, which is typical for visits by important foreign leaders. The Chinese resist taking questions from the media.
While visiting Beijing last year, Bush tried to make up for the lack of a joint press conference by taking questions from U.S. reporters back at his hotel.