China's customs bureau predicted China's trade surplus this year could reach US$168 billion, 65% up on last year's US$101.9 billion record, raising the stakes ahead of a high-powered delegation of US economic leaders, AFP reported. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke will lead a first meeting of a new "strategic economic dialogue" with China in Beijing late next week. The meeting is llikely to focus on American complaints about an undervalued Chinese currency, which were given fresh impetus this week as US Democrats called for Paulson to increase pressure on Beijing. Some analysts think the full year surplus will be even higher than official predictions. "We expect another 25 billion dollars in December, which should push us to a 182 billion dollar goods trade surplus for the year," Stephen Green, a Shanghai-based economist with Standard Chartered, said in a research note. "That is likely to cause some sharp discussion in the US-China strategic economic dialogue next week."
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