Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is the latest member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet to visit China as his administration tries to repair deteriorating relations between the world’s two largest economies. She pledged to be “pragmatic” without compromising the U.S. push to manage the economic relationship “responsibly.”
Raimondo plans to meet with Chinese officials and U.S. business leaders in Beijing and Shanghai in an effort to “promote healthy competition, compete fairly and play by the rules.”
“I’m also very realistic and conscious about the challenges. The challenges are huge,” she told reporters before leaving Washington on Saturday for a trip that ends Wednesday.
The secretary of state said she wanted to find “concrete actionable steps to move our commercial relationship forward,” without offering many details.One issue discussed was promoting Chinese travel and tourism to the U.S., and Raimondo pointed to the recent easing of restrictions on large Chinese groups traveling to the U.S.
Like Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s visit in July, Raimondo’s visit is intended to signal a time when foreign policy and national security tensions are escalating, and as Washington strengthens alliances with Japan, South Korea, South Korea and others , the government is willing to cooperate with China in economic development. Australia and the European Union.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s two-day visit to Beijing in June marked the highest-level meeting in China in the past five years. Blinken met with President Xi Jinping, and the two agreed to stabilize U.S.-China relations, but failed to agree on greater communication between the two militaries.
There are also differences on the economic front, especially after the United States imposed foreign investment controls, which hit many Chinese companies. China accuses the US of “using ‘decoupling’ under the guise of ‘reducing risks'” and increasing its own trade in Asia.
These controls involve advanced computer chips, microelectronics, quantum information technology and artificial intelligence. The U.S. said the move was motivated by national security objectives rather than economic interests, and that the categories covered were deliberately narrow.
The U.S. move is aimed at undercutting China’s ability to use U.S. investment in its technology companies to upgrade its military while preserving broader levels of trade that are vital to both countries. But China’s Ministry of Commerce expressed “serious concerns” about Biden’s executive order.
Raimondo said the US was not interested in “containing China’s economic development”.
“We want the Chinese economy to prosper. We don’t want to contain or stop China,” she said. “We do need to protect our national security, and we will use our export controls to the fullest possible extent to do so.”
She said that the attempt to boost the U.S. economy by promoting the manufacturing industry is the core content of Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign, “doesn’t mean at all that we want to decouple from the Chinese economy. I plan to make this clear in the meeting.”
“The United States and China have a broad, vibrant, and growing economic relationship,” Raimondo said. “Our two countries — indeed, the world — need us to manage this relationship responsibly.”
Raimondo added that she was seeking “a stable business relationship with regular communication at its core.”
“Issues in any relationship are difficult to resolve without communication. A lack of communication can lead to escalating tensions that can gradually worsen,” says Raimondo.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said Raimondo was here at the invitation of Minister Wang Wentao. Asked about Raimondo’s trip at a news briefing on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that “China and the U.S. have maintained contact on bilateral contacts and exchanges.”
During a recent fundraiser for his re-election campaign in Utah, Biden said China was a “ticking time bomb.”
“They’re having some problems. It’s not good because when bad people have problems, they do bad things,” the president said, pointing to China’s recent decline in growth rates.
Raimondo said she spoke with Biden before she left for China, and he asked her to convey the message that “communication helps reduce tension.”
“It doesn’t mean compromise,” Raimondo said, adding: “I’m not going to show mercy, but I’m going to be pragmatic.”
The commerce secretary said she spoke with senior U.S. labor leaders and more than 100 industry executives ahead of her trip, who were eager to do business with China but were “increasingly concerned” about China’s non-market behavior, which made the scramble for a global Business becomes difficult.
“We all know that China has not delivered on the economic reforms it promised,” Raimondo said. “And it’s clearly continued commitment to using non-market trade and investment practices that compels us to protect our businesses and our workers.”