Chinese businessmen to buy $4.3b in US technology

A delegation of Chinese business leaders committed to buying $4.3 billion in US technology, hoping to soften a political backlash to the massive trade imbalance dividing two of the world's economic powers, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the agreements were trumpeted at a ceremony, two weeks before the scheduled start of government talks in Washington where leaders will try to tackle the US' $232 billion trade deficit with China and other prickly issues.

The report further said California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi hailed 27 contracts as an 'important step in furthering the deep relationship between this state, this country and China.'

But the event's timing spurred immediate skepticism about the sincerity of China's efforts to narrow a trade gap that has tormented the US for years.

'They are not going to change their ways. This is all part of a political smoke screen,' Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland and the former chief economist for the US International Trade Commission, was quoted as saying.

To underscore China's resolve to explore more US investments, executives from more than 200 Chinese companies are meeting with their US counterparts in 24 cities scattered across 23 states, said Ma Xiuhong, vice minister of China's Ministry of Commerce.

In its first stop, just north of Silicon Valley's high-tech heartland, the Chinese coalition primarily sealed deals with computer software, semiconductor and telecommunications companies, the report added.

The report further said the US beneficiaries included high-tech bellwethers Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, and HP.