BEIJING--The U.S. and China launched formal economic talks Wednesday, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew arguing that exchange rate liberalization and other proposed measures were in China's interest and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang calling for balance.

"If we move too fast, we will be tripped by the demons of details," Mr. Wang said in an afternoon session of the annual Strategic & Economic Dialogue in Beijing. "But if we move too slow, reform will be affected."

"The U.S. is stepping up the pressure," on currency and other issues, Mr. Wang said, but China is seeking to find "balance."

Mr. Lew outlined a list of changes the U.S. is seeking, including a market-determined exchange rate, financial sector reform and intellectual property protection. He framed these changes as part of Beijing's reform agenda and thus in China's interest.

"We are encouraged that the reforms outlined in the Third Plenum reflect many of the steps we believe are needed for China to have a prosperous future," Mr. Lew said, referring to a Communist Party session that endorsed a large set of economic reforms.

The Strategic & Economic Dialogue is an annual meeting of top Chinese and U.S. security and economic officials. This year, the U.S. is represented by Mr. Lew and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry while Mr. Wang is joined by State Councilor Yang Jiechi from China.

It is far from clear whether the two sides will reach any concrete deals in the two-day session.

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July 09, 2014 05:15 ET (09:15 GMT)

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