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'Don't blame China,' says US official

'Don't blame China,' says US official

Updated: 2012-03-07 15:48

By Chen Weihua (

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NEW YORK - While the Republican presidential candidates have been busy bashing China, a senior US State Department official says blaming China for major problems facing the US misses the point.

"While we have real and serious issues with China, to blame China for the major problems the US faces today … is inaccurate," said Robert Hormats, under secretary of state for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment.

"It's even worse in the sense that if you blame someone else for your problems, you won't do what you need to do at home to fix them," Hormats told China Daily in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, before addressing the New York-based Asia Society on US-China economic ties over the past 40 years.

Some US companies have suffered losses in China due to a lack of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, Hormats said. However, it’s important for American government officials and others to make clear to the American people that America needs to address its own problems, such as education, infrastructure, energy dependence, and fiscal policy.

"Those are not China-caused problems. Those are problems caused by our political system," said Hormats, a key figure in the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue who has been dealing with China since the Nixon administration.

"Those are our own problems. We have to deal with those problems ourselves," he said.

"If we are going to compete with China, we have to make ourselves more competitive, our workers more competitive, our education and infrastructure more competitive."

Having made at least 60 trips to China since the early 1970s, both in his government capacity and as vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs (International), Hormats believes the US can learn from China in several areas.

The US should take a long-term view in order to make itself more competitive five years from now, he said, citing the example of infrastructure investment in China, compared with deteriorating facilities in the US.