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China's economy grew 10.3% in 2010

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Obama: US-China cooperation helps world
  • The Chinese economy grew 10.3% in 2010, according to government figures
  • The size of the world's second largest economy eclipsed $6 trillion
  • Consumer prices grew 3.3% year-on-year; food prices grew 7.2%
  • Inflation is a growing concern for Beijing as the economy expands

Beijing (CNN) -- The Chinese economy continued its breakneck growth in 2010, expanding by 10.3%, according to government figures released Thursday.

Last year China's economic output eclipsed Japan to become the world's second largest economy with just over $6 trillion, completing a decade long gallop that saw it jump the economies of France, the UK and Germany. China's growth in 2009 was 9.2%.

The U.S. is the world's largest economy with an estimated $14.6 trillion GDP for 2010.

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The yearend figures come out as Chinese President Hu Jintao makes a high-profile visit to the U.S., being feted at a state dinner by U.S. President Barack Obama -- the first such dinner for China in more than 13 years.

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The summit has also highlighted a range of issues between the world's two largest economies, such as the global economic crisis, international security, the environment and human rights.

Obama administration officials used the president's meeting with Hu to highlight economic progress between the two countries, announcing Beijing's approval of $45 billion in new contracts for U.S. companies to export goods to China. The contracts will support an estimated 235,000 American jobs, according to the White House.

The Chinese economy grew 9.8% in the last quarter of 2010, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics.

Consumer prices grew 3.3% year-on-year, ahead of China's 3% target. But more troubling for Beijing is the price of food rose 7.2%.

As the economy expands, inflation is a growing concern for China's economic minders, said Professor Patrick Chovanec at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

China has implemented price controls on food "but whether that deal with the underlying inflationary pressure is an entirely different problem," Chovanec said. "Nothing China has done so far has really tackled that."

Two chief U.S. economic concerns are China's currency, which critics say is widely undervalued, and increased access to U.S. businesses in the burgeoning China market.

Obama dismissed a reporter's question about U.S. fear of China's rising power, saying that China's explosive economic growth is good for the world and, more specifically, American businesses.

We want to sell China "all kinds of stuff," he said.

"We welcome China's rise," Obama said. Washington just wants to ensure it "reinforces international norms and international rules, and enhances security and peace as opposed to ... being a source of conflict."

While the meeting dealt with a range of topics, U.S. officials continued to focus intensely on the fact that the government-controlled People's Bank of China is artificially undervaluing the yuan, bringing down the cost of Chinese exports, which would give it an advantage in the international market.

CNN's Helena Hong, Pauline Chiou and Kevin Voigt contributed to this report.

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