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Obama urges easing of trade frictions with China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, hosting his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, urged an easing of trade frictions with China on Wednesday and said the United States seeks a level playing field on trade.

Hu said China is working to boost domestic demand, especially consumer spending.

The leaders spoke at the start of a meeting at the White House with top corporate executives from both countries.

Obama told the business leaders that he was looking forward to hearing their ideas on "how we can ease some of the frictions that exist" in the U.S.-China trade relationship.

He added that he also wanted their thoughts on how to "ensure that trade is fair, that there is a level playing field" and on how to protect intellectual property rights.

Critics of China in the United States say China does not play by the rules as it maintains a huge trade surplus with the United States, and worry that China's domestic demand should be boosted to help ease the imbalance.

(Reporting by Caren Bohan; editing by Christopher Buckley and Frances Kerry)