President Obama to China: Let us sell you stuff!

By , Staff writer

"We want to sell you all kinds of stuff," he just told visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao at a White House presser.

He then went on to mention software and cars and a few other things. I wish he'd stopped at "all kinds of stuff."

That US trade deficit with China? $252 billion in the first 11 months of last year. VOA is reporting that $45 billion of US corporate export deals with China -- about half of that with Boeing -- will be announced during President Hu's visit.

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I don't cover trade in depth, but my first "real" job in journalism was for Bloomberg News writing about investment in Asia, mostly Indonesia.

I don't know the specifics of this case, but in my experience such bundled announcements of "deals" made during big bilateral and multilateral meetings are for feel-good reasons. I remember the slew of deals "secured" during President Bill Clinton's visit to Indonesia for the second APEC summit in Bogor, a hill town near Jakarta, in 1994. Most of those were deals that were being done anyway and announced at the time for cosmetic impact.

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