"The first (of three goals) is to strengthen our economic
relationship with China in a way that is mutually beneficial and
ensures a level playing field for American businesses and
workers to compete fairly with their Chinese counterparts," the
former Montana senator said in remarks to reporters.
"I think this is very important."
The world's two largest economies have numerous points of
contention in the region, including China's assertions of
sovereignty over swathes of the East China and South China Seas,
as well as U.S. support for self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing
sees as a renegade province.
Baucus helped steer trade policy with China as chairman of the
powerful Senate Finance Committee, taking a firm stance against
some of China's trade practices. He also led U.S. efforts in the
1990's to aid China's admission to the World Trade Organisation.
Baucus also said he hoped to strengthen people-to-people
diplomacy and work with China on global challenges while
encouraging it to abide by human rights norms.
"We're also urging China to support the laws, the norms, values
and human rights that undergird the current international system
from which we all benefit," he said.
(Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan; editing by Robert Birsel)
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