US Secretary of Commerce John Bryson (C) addresses Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan at the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) talks in Chengdu, the capital of China's southwestern province of Sichuan, on November 21.
The United States on Monday demanded "concrete results" from Beijing on the yuan, market access and intellectual property rights, as the world's two largest economies held trade talks in China.
US Commerce Secretary John Bryson said there was growing concern in his country about trade ties with China, drawing a warning from Beijing's top finance official against politicizing economic issues.
The annual meeting of the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in the southwestern city of Chengdu is this year taking place against a background of growing rivalry between the two powers.
In recent months US lawmakers, under pressure to spur jobs growth as they enter an election year, have heaped blame on Chinese policies for their country's economic woes.
On Monday -- the second of a two-day meeting -- Bryson said the sides had not made sufficient progress during the first day of talks, and that it was "time to work hard and deliver results".
"Many in the United States, including the business community and the Congress, are moving towards a more negative view on our trading relationship," Bryson said.
"We must produce concrete, meaningful results in areas including improving protection of intellectual property rights, non-discriminatory innovation policies and additional opportunities for American investors."
Bryson's comments echoed those of US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who earlier said China and the United States needed to "demonstrate to our constituents that we can and do solve problems" during the annual meeting.
He also called on the United States to ensure a level playing field for Chinese companies investing in the world's economic superpower.
Later, the two sides signed agreements including a memorandum of understanding on energy cooperation and an action plan for cooperation on high-tech trade.
China's top official on financial affairs, Wang Qishan, said the Asian country had made "positive progress" addressing US concerns and called on the Americans to "avoid politicization of economic issues".
"An unbalanced recovery is better than a balanced recession," China's vice premier said, referring to the turbulence in Europe and the United States that threatens to tip the global economic recovery into reverse.
Wang said he hoped the US side would "make substantive progress" in relaxing controls on high-tech exports to China and "exercise caution" in taking action against Chinese shipments, a key driver of the world's second-largest economy.
Wang's comments came after he warned on Saturday that China needed to resolve "structural problems" in its financial system to cope with a sustained global recession that threatened its export-dependent economy.
"The one thing we can be sure of is that the global economic recession will last for a long time," the state Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.
Ties between Beijing and Washington have been strained after a string of US lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle stepped up criticism of China's yuan exchange rate, which they argue is grossly undervalued and costs US jobs.
US President Barack Obama -- facing an election in November next year -- said recently Beijing had not done enough to allow the yuan to reach a fair market value and called on a now "grown up" China to act more responsibly.
Last month, the US Senate passed legislation that would punish China for alleged currency manipulation, raising hackles in Beijing, where state media warned it could spark a trade war between the two countries.
On Thursday, Democratic US Senator Bob Casey said he had delivered the message that the US would not tolerate what he called "unfair trade practices" in a meeting with the head of China's sovereign wealth fund.