WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said high-level economic talks with Chinese officials got off to a "good start" on Tuesday, but cautioned the discussions were strategic not intended to produce specific short-term actions.
"These are not negotiating sessions," Gutierrez told a news briefing between sessions. "This is not intended to walk out with specific short-term deliverables."
Gutierrez said the U.S. delegation explained to Chinese officials that U.S. restrictions on high-technology exports were not a barrier to increasing U.S. exports to China, noting that only a small portion of last year's $17 billion worth of U.S. high-technology exports to China required a license.
The U.S. government only rejected $12 million of proposed high-tech exports to China last year, he added.
Although he said talks would "get more penetrating" as the sessions go on, he tried to downplay expectations for specific actions.
"What we are achieving here is a tremendously valuable strategic dialogue on two of the world's largest economies," he said.
But Gutierrez also said even though the talks were aimed at long-term issues, U.S. officials did convey to their Chinese counterparts their impatience with the slow pace of economic reform in China.
"Talking strategy is not inconsistent with being impatient. We can do both," he said.
U.S. officials brought up concerns to Chinese officials over food safety, but these will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent sessions.