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US-China 1stLd 06-10

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URGENT

Paulson pledges robust engagement with China

Eds: ADDS 4 grafs to UPDATE with more details. Moving on general news and financial services.

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

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AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the administration intends to keep pursuing a policy of "robust engagement" with China that will include filing unfair trade cases as needed and pressuring the Chinese to move more quickly to revalue their currency.

Paulson, delivering a speech outlining the goals of a high-level meeting the two countries will hold next week, said that it was important for both nations to resist calls for erecting protectionist barriers.

"It is clear that our strategy for robust engagement with China — intensive dialogue but with resort to WTO dispute settlement and WTO-sanctioned trade remedies if needed — is more productive than protectionist policies or legislation," Paulson said in his prepared remarks.

The Chinese have complained that the administration has harmed the chances for making progress in the high-level talks by resorting to filing trade cases against China before the World Trade Organization.

However, the administration has dismissed those complaints, arguing that it is pursuing a two-pronged approach that will seek to get China to address contentious trade issues during the twice-a-year meetings but if those efforts fail, it will not hesitate to take cases to the WTO.

The administration is facing rising unhappiness in this country over the soaring trade deficit with China which critics blame in part for the loss of more than 3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs since 2001.

High-level delegations from both countries will meet on June 17-18 in Annapolis, Md., for the fourth round of discussions launched in December 2006 known as the Strategic Economic Dialogue.

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