US To China: “Let’s Talk More About Trade.” China Calls For Sincerity.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao attend a meeting in Beijing, China August 28, 2023. REUTERS/David Shepardson
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U.S. and Chinese officials expressed hope for positive economic relations this week as U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with Chinese leaders for a second day in Beijing to dicuss new channels for communication about trade and trade disputes.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang told Raimondo that “sound economic relations and trade cooperation will not only be beneficial to our two countries, but to the whole world.”

Raimondo said the United States seeks to maintain its commercial relationship with China and hopes those ties “can provide stability for the overall relationship.”

Raimondo also highlighted global concerns such as climate change and fentanyl addiction, saying the United States wants to work with China “as two global powers to do what is right for all of humanity.”

“The world is expecting us to step up together to solve these problems,” she said.

Raimondo met earlier Tuesday with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng and said the United States is not looking to separate economically from China.

“While we will never of course compromise in protecting our national security I want to be clear that we do not seek to decouple or to hold China’s economy back,” Raimondo said.

He Lifeng said China wants to work on “new, positive efforts to keep economic consensus and step up cooperation.”

The United States and China on Monday agreed to create two separate dialogues to reduce misunderstanding of U.S. security issues central to its tight export controls on Chinese technologies, which Beijing sees as an attempt to quash its companies.

After meetings with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, Raimondo said the two countries will establish a working group that will include business representatives to focus on commercial issues and a governmental information exchange to focus on export control issues.

She told Wang Wentao that the Biden administration seeks healthy competition with China and that a “growing Chinese economy that plays by the rules is in both of our interests.”

Wang Wentao said China is ready to work with the United States to “foster a more favorable policy environment for stronger cooperation between our businesses to bolster bilateral trade and investment in a stable and predictable manner.”

He said U.S.-China economic relations are important not just for the two countries, but also for the rest of the world.

But in a late-night statement, the Chinese Commerce Ministry (MOFCOM) said Wang also raised serious concerns about various US policies toward China such as Section 301 tariffs, semiconductor policies, restrictions on investments and sanctions on Chinese firms, stressing that overstretching the concept of national security is not conducive to bilateral trade.

However, U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, accused the Biden administration of being “at best naive” in starting a working group with China.

“The Biden administration’s decision to join forces with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to establish a working group on export controls and commercial issues with CCP officials is at best naive, but also dangerous,” he said. “The CCP steals U.S. intellectual property and hacks the emails of senior government officials — including Secretary Raimondo.

“The administration must stop treating the CCP as anything other than an adversary who will stop at nothing to harm our national security and spread its malign authoritarianism around the globe,” McCaul said.

Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said the two countries need an enhanced dialogue on trade “in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election … before it’s too late.”

“The U.S. ban on China-bound high-tech exports and investments has ended up promoting China’s [tech] autonomy and innovative capabilities,” he told VOA’s Mandarin Service. “All these developments do not serve the interests of [U.S.] high-tech firms.”

Bai Ming, deputy director of the international market research institute at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the mechanisms are mostly procedural items for enhancing communication on the issues, which are necessary but concrete actions from the US are crucial for a stable China-US economic and trade relationship.

“The hope is that the US side will actually show real sincerity and address these issues, because just having more talks on the issues is far from enough,” Bai told the Global Times on Monda

Sources: VOA Mandarin with additional information from Associated Press, 
Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Global Times.
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