News Column

Chinese President Comes to U.S. for Shirtsleeve Summit

June 4, 2013

Isaac Cohen -- HispanicBusiness.com

Chinese president Xi Jinping (photo: U.S. Defense Dept.)
Chinese president Xi Jinping (photo: U.S. Defense Dept.)

The meeting between President Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping on June 7-8 has been characterized as "a shirtsleeve summit," because it does not demand strict protocol, since it is not an official state visit.

This week, Xi Jinping visited three countries in the northern part of this hemisphere: Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

The visit concludes with the California summit, held at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, the former winter residence of the philanthropist and diplomat Walter Annenberg.

Among the economic issues on the negotiating table, the U.S. dollar's exchange rate with the yuan will not be controversial this time.

During the last two months, the central bank of China has let the Chinese currency appreciate against the dollar, 0.75 percent in April and 0.5 percent in May.

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The other economic issue is Chinese participation in negotiations to set up a Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes 11 governments and which Japan has recently joined.

Last week, the Ministry of Commerce and the Foreign Ministry separately issued statements saying the Chinese government is considering the possibility of joining the negotiations.

This is a major change of the initially suspicious attitude that appeared in the Chinese media at the start of the Trans-Pacific Prtnership negotiations.

By contrast, security issues are more complex. Among them, North Korea's nuclear ambitions, cyber attacks allegedly originating in China and the maritime disputes between China and its neighbors.

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Isaac Cohen is an international analyst and consultant, a commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, and a former director, UNECLAC Washington Office.


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