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Americans’ attitudes toward China

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Senior officials from the United States and China are due to meet in Beijing for Strategic and Economic Dialogue, an annual meeting to discuss broad economic, foreign policy and security concerns. The meeting comes on the heels of a tension filled year of relations between the two global powers.

National flags of U.S. and China wave in front of an international hotel in Beijing February 4, 2010. Relations between China and the United States will be tested this year by a range of issues, including currency rates, trade, Internet censorship, human rights, the Dalai Lama and arms sales to Taiwan. REUTERS/Jason LeeMany U.S. lawmakers who believe that Beijing deliberately undervalues its currency for an unfair trade advantage are now looking for progress on that issue at the talks.

Economists say China’s currency is pegged to the dollar at a rate that is between 15 and 40 percent lower than the level markets would set if the yuan were freely traded. This has helped its economy weather the global recession at the expense, critics argue, of jobs everywhere else in the world.

Slamming the Chinese over its currency policy is politically appealing in an election year in which U.S. unemployment is near 10 percent and China’s trade surplus is expanding again.

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