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US companies expand goals as China leader arrives

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By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies have long demanded that China let its currency rise to make U.S. exports cheaper. But as President Hu Jintao visits Washington this week, U.S. companies are stressing other goals: Stopping the theft of intellectual property. And getting a fair chance to win government contracts.

No one expects any big breakthroughs. Instead, many U.S. companies hold out hope that the meetings between Hu and President Barack Obama will make it easier to reach long-term solutions to the major trade disputes dividing the world's two largest economies.

Hu sounded conciliatory on the eve of his trip.

"We both stand to gain from a sound China-U.S. relationship, and lose from confrontation," he said in responses to questions from The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

But Hu also argued that the U.S. dollar's dominance of financial markets was a "product of the past," suggesting China would seek a more assertive role in the future. He passed up a chance to signal China's willingness to let its currency rise further against the dollar, a key U.S. demand.

"We should expect over time incremental progress," says Myron Brilliant, senior vice president for international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


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