POLITICS

Top US and Chinese commerce officials express support for better trade conditions

Aug 27, 2023, 8:14 PM

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, second right, speaks during a meeting with Chinese Minister ...

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, second right, speaks during a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao, second left, at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart expressed support Monday for improving trade conditions as Raimondo began a visit to Beijing as part of U.S. efforts to improve chilly relations.

Raimondo follows other American officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in July, who have visited China in the past three months. They expressed optimism about improving communication but have announced no progress on disputes over technology, security, human rights and other issues that have plunged relations to their lowest level in decades.

For its part, Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government wants to revive foreign investor interest in China as it tries to reverse a deepening economic slump.

Beijing is ready to work together to “foster a more favorable policy environment for stronger cooperation” between U.S. and Chinese businesses and “bolster bilateral trade and investment,” Commerce Minister Wang Wentao told Raimondo. Wang gave no details of possible initiatives.

Raimondo said the two sides are working on establishing “new information exchanges” for “more consistent engagement.”

“It is profoundly important that we have a stable economic relationship,” she said. “I believe that we can make progress if we are direct, open and practical.”

Beijing broke off dialogue with Washington on military, climate and other issues in August 2022 in retaliation for a visit to Taiwan by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the House of Representatives. The mainland’s ruling Communist Party claims the self-ruled island democracy as part of its territory and objects to foreign governments having contact with it.

The state press has given positive coverage to the American visits to Beijing, but China has given no indication it might change trade, strategic, market access and other policies that irk Washington and its Asian neighbors.

A key Chinese complaint is limits on access to processor chips and other U.S. technology on security grounds that threaten to hamper China’s development of smartphone, artificial intelligence and other industries.

Wang visited Washington in May. The U.S. government has also invited Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Washington, but plans for that have not been announced.

Raimondo also was due to meet with China’s No. 2 leader, Premier Li Qiang, and other officials during her two-day visit to Beijing and Shanghai.

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Top US and Chinese commerce officials express support for better trade conditions