WASHINGTON, DC – Engage China, a coalition of eleven financial services trade associations united in support of high-level engagement with China with an emphasis on continued financial sector reform in China, released the following statement in advance of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) to be held in Beijing:

“The Engage China Coalition encourages active cooperation and dialogue between the United States and China, which we view as the most constructive means to ensure that the citizens of both nations mutually benefit from the growing bilateral economic relationship. The S&ED provides a vital forum for leaders to address the major economic issues facing both nations and to work towards further modernization and reform of China’s financial markets.

“Opening China’s financial sector to greater participation by foreign financial services firms is the fastest way for China to develop the modern financial system it needs to achieve its goals. Foreign financial institutions would bring world-class expertise and best practices with regard to products and services, technology, credit analysis, risk management, internal controls, and corporate governance, and would contribute to economic growth, job creation, and the further structural reforms China seeks.

“Fair and competitive access to China’s fast-growing economy also presents a great opportunity for American businesses and workers. Progress on this front would help spur U.S. economic growth and create jobs. It also will play a critical role in achieving President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports within the next five years, as he stated in his most recent State of the Union address.

“Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner echoed this important message in a speech last week in Tacoma, WA, where he said he will urge China to ensure a ‘level playing field’. ‘Our agenda in Beijing will focus on reducing the challenges faced by American companies trying to export to China and to produce in China,’ Geithner added.

“As the U.S. and China discuss exchange rates, another fundamental economic issue that must be addressed is the continued reduction and elimination of barriers that foreign financial services firms encounter in China. Such action is integral to the development of a modern financial system which will serve as the platform to help promote more balanced growth in China and in the world economy.

“We commend Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice Premier Wang Qishan, and State Councilor Dai Bingguo for their leadership on this vital dialogue and wish them successful talks.”