US Commerce Secretary to Visit China for Trade Talks

US Commerce

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will visit China from August 27 to 30 for “constructive discussions” on a host of issues related to the US-China commercial relationship, the Commerce Department said in a press release1. Raimondo’s trip comes at a critical time for the world’s two largest economies, which have been locked in a trade war since 2018 and have seen their relations deteriorate over a range of political and security issues.

Raimondo will meet with senior Chinese officials and American business leaders in Beijing and Shanghai to discuss “issues relating to the US-China commercial relationship, challenges faced by US businesses, and areas for potential cooperation,” the press release said. She will also visit US companies operating in China and highlight the importance of fair market access and a level playing field for American businesses.

Raimondo’s visit follows President Joe Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last November, where they agreed to deepen communication and cooperation on areas of common interest, while managing differences and avoiding conflict. The two leaders also pledged to work together on global challenges such as climate change, COVID-19, and nuclear proliferation.

US Commerce


Trade tensions remain high despite efforts to stabilize relations

Despite the efforts to stabilize relations, trade tensions between the US and China remain high, as both sides have imposed tariffs and restrictions on each other’s goods and services. The US has also targeted Chinese companies with export controls and sanctions over alleged human rights abuses, national security threats, and unfair trade practices.

The Biden administration has maintained most of the tariffs and measures imposed by former President Donald Trump, while also launching new initiatives to counter China’s economic influence and technological advancement. On August 9, Biden signed an executive order to impose blocks and regulations on US high-tech investment in China, covering sectors such as advanced computer chips, microelectronics, quantum information technologies, and artificial intelligence.

The order seeks to prevent China from using US investments to upgrade its military capabilities, while also preserving broader levels of trade that are vital for both nations’ economies. Senior administration officials said the effort is narrow in scope and related more to national security than economic interests.

China has said it is assessing Biden’s order and will “take the necessary response measures based on the results of the assessment.” China has also accused the US of interfering in its internal affairs and violating international norms by imposing sanctions on Chinese officials and entities over issues such as Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan.

Raimondo hopes to find common ground and address concerns

Raimondo has said that she hopes to find common ground with China on trade issues and address the concerns of US businesses operating in China. She has also said that she wants to promote fair competition and innovation in key sectors such as semiconductors, 5G, biotechnology, and clean energy.

Raimondo has previously met with her Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in Washington in May, where they discussed trade issues such as market access, intellectual property rights, forced technology transfer, subsidies, and overcapacity. They also agreed to establish a joint working group on trade enforcement.

Raimondo’s visit will be the first by a US commerce secretary to China since 2014. It will also follow previous high-level US official trips to China this year, such as Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s visit in July and climate envoy John Kerry’s visit in April.

Raimondo’s visit is expected to pave the way for a possible meeting between Biden and Xi later this year at the G20 summit in Italy or the COP26 climate conference in Scotland. Both sides have expressed their willingness to hold face-to-face talks at an appropriate time.

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