updated 5/15/2007 8:59:35 PM ET 2007-05-16T00:59:35

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will lead a high-level delegation when U.S. and Chinese officials get together next week for a second round of talks on economic issues.

The Treasury Department announced Tuesday that the talks scheduled May 22-23 would review progress on plans established at the first meeting of the Strategic Economic Dialogue in Beijing in December.

The Chinese team will be led by Vice Premier Wu Yi and is expected to include 14 Cabinet-level ministers from Beijing. The U.S. delegation will include top officials from 10 Cabinet-level agencies as well as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The discussions next week are scheduled to begin with a presentation by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who conducted the behind-the-scenes negotiations that led to President Richard Nixon's historic trip to China in February 1972.

In addition to Paulson and Bernanke, the U.S. side will include Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, Environmental Protection Agency head Stephen Johnson and John Negroponte, deputy secretary of state.

Besides private discussions that will take place at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, the Chinese delegation will have closed-door talks with key members of Congress, where unhappiness over America's growing trade deficits with China has threatened to provoke a protectionist backlash.

It is unclear what results will be achieved from the discussions. Paulson earlier this month said he was looking for "signposts" of short-term progress. But he has played down expectations for any major breakthroughs on the major issue of America's desire to see China allow its currency to rise in value against the dollar.

American manufacturers, who have lost nearly 3 million jobs since 2001, contend that the Chinese are unfairly keeping their currency undervalued by as much as 40 percent as a way to make Chinese goods cheaper in the U.S. and American products more expensive in China.

The U.S. deficit with China soared to $232.5 billion last year, the largest imbalance ever recorded with a single country.

According to a Treasury statement announcing the agenda, the talks will cover such areas as economic imbalances, China's economic development and integration into the global trading system, greater openness of markets and cooperation on energy security, the environment and innovation.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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