U.S. & China take steps to ease tensions over economic issues

August 28, 2023

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart agreed Monday to set up new channels of communication for economic and trade issues.

“Today, I met with Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China Wang Wentao. We agreed to establish a new commercial issues working group, launch the export control enforcement information exchange, and more,” Raimondo posted on social media.

The first meeting of the new working group from the two countries—called “export control enforcement information exchange”—was set to take place Tuesday.

According to a news release from the Commerce Department, following a four-hour meeting Monday, the U.S. and China also agreed to convene experts from both countries to discuss strengthening protections for trade secrets and confidential business information.

The two to Commerce officials, Raimondo and Wang, further agreed to meet in person at least once annually. 

Among numerous factors leading to heightened tensions between the U.S. and China in recent months, China has been aggravated by a move by the Biden Administration in October to restrict China-bound exports of advanced semiconductors and equipment. That came amid a new rule requiring chip makers to obtain an export license from the U.S. Commerce Department for advanced chips and chip-making equipment. 

That action led to retaliation from China including a ban on some chip-making materials and sales by U.S. chip maker Micron Technology. 

“I want to be clear that we are not compromising or negotiating in matters of national security. Period,” Raimondo told U.S. business representatives during a reception at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Beijing.

She stressed that the meeting was meant to be a dialogue “where we increase transparency, and when we are clear about what we are doing.”

Secretary Raimondo is on a four-day visit to China. It follows similar visit by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in July in a bid to ease tensions and steady economic ties between the world’s two largest economies.

During her visit Raimondo said, “We are trying to make the case that the vast majority of our trade has nothing to do with national security.”

PHOTO: @SecRaimondo

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