China Looks Past Bush And Paulson

Forbes is predicting that in the upcoming economic talks between China and the U.S., the two countries won’t make any new inroads, rather “transition will be the central theme,” with President George W. Bush soon to leave office:

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the U.S. delegation will use this meeting of the “Strategic Economic Dialogue”–this time in Annapolis, Md.–to get to know the new Chinese team, led by Vice Premier Wang Qishan. The two countries are expected to announce the initial findings of their joint agreement to reduce oil dependency and conserve the environment. As the world’s largest net importers of oil, China and the U.S. have an interest in keeping prices from ballooning.

But solid results? Forget about it. With Paulson’s team out of office in several months, the U.S. won’t make promises it can’t back up. And China will be hesitant to address Washington’s concerns, with a new administration on the way.

“China is very much in a ‘wait-and-see’ position,” says Wing Thye Woo, a senior fellow and China expert at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

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