Top US and Chinese trade officials meet to discuss trade concerns

Top US and Chinese trade officials meet to discuss trade concerns
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The US and Chinese flags hang behind a microphone at the US Embassy in Beijing on April 9, 2009.

Frederick J. Brown | AFP | fake images

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with her Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in Washington DC on Thursday to discuss “concerns” over bilateral trade.

Marking the first cabinet-level exchange between the two countries in months, the US spoke about US companies operating in China.

According to a Commerce Department reading, “the two had candid and substantive discussions on issues related to the US-China trade relationship, including the general environment in both countries for trade and investment and areas of potential cooperation.”

Raimondo also “expressed concern about the recent wave of attacks by the People’s Republic of China [People’s Republic of China] actions taken against US companies operating in the PRC,” he said.

The bilateral exchange between Raimondo and Wang comes as market watchers are closely watching whether the United States will rein in US investment in China as relations between the world’s largest economies deteriorate.

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The Group of Seven leaders met in Hiroshima over the weekend and vowed to “de-risk and diversify” from reliance on China, adding that some of Beijing’s practices “distort the global economy.”

The high-level talks come as China reportedly conducted inspections of US audit firms on the mainland for national security violations.

Earlier this week, China announced that it will ban some purchases of products from the US memory chip maker. Micron — to ban operators of “critical information infrastructure” in China after a security review by the Cyberspace Administration of China.

In response, the US Department of Commerce spokesman said: “We strongly oppose restrictions that have no basis in fact.” He said the department will engage with the Chinese government to “refine” its position and seek clarity.

In the statement released by China’s Ministry of Commerce after his meeting with Raimondo, Wang also raised concerns about US policies on semiconductors and export controls.

“The two sides agreed to establish communication channels to maintain and strengthen exchanges on specific economic and trade concerns and cooperation issues,” it said.

Wang is expected to meet with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai during her visit to the US, where she will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers meeting.


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