Paulson, Bernanke to Lead U.S. Delegation to China

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Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will lead a high-level U.S. delegation to Beijing next month for talks aimed at addressing a number trade tensions growing out of America's soaring deficit with China.

The Treasury Department announced that Bernanke will join Paulson for the first meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, in which top economic policymakers from both countries will meet twice a year in an effort to deal with a variety of economic issues. The discussions will take place on Dec. 14-15.

Paulson announced the start of this series of talks on his first trip to China in September. The Bush administration is hoping that China will move more quickly to allow its currency to rise in value against the dollar as a way of narrowing a trade deficit which this year is on track to set a new record well above last year's $202 billion imbalance.

In addition to Paulson and Bernanke, the other top U.S. officials making the trip are Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Heath and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman and Stephen Johnson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency.