US commerce secretary affirms a strong desire to maintain economic ties with China

29 Aug 2023


Senior officials from the United States and China held a series of economic policy meetings in Beijing on Tuesday, 29 August 2023, underscoring efforts to halt the decline in their bilateral relationship and to reestablish channels of communication.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gina Raimondo, the US secretary of commerce, convened a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, situated in the central heart of Beijing near Tiananmen Square. She was accompanied by other high-ranking officials from her department. 
The American delegation met with Vice Premier He Lifeng, a key official in China, with extensive responsibilities in economic policy and a longstanding association with China’s president, Xi Jinping.
Raimondo emphasized the global importance of the US-China commercial relationship and stressed the responsibility of both nations to manage this relationship effectively, not only for their own interests but for the world as a whole. While asserting US commitment to safeguard its national security, she clarified that the goal was not to disengage or hinder China’s economic progress.
Raimondo also held discussions with Premier Li Qiang, China's second-ranking official. Prior to this meeting, she expressed the American desire for commercial relations to serve as a stabilizing force in the broader bilateral relationship. 
The American secretary of commerce emphasized that there are global issues, including climate change, artificial intelligence, and the fentanyl crisis, where the international community expects both nations to collaborate in addressing these challenges.
The US delegation’s China trip is also drawing attention to the future of TikTok in the United States. This comes as criticism of the app and its connections to Beijing reached a peak this year. 
Raimondo made a memorable statement to Bloomberg News this year, suggesting that if the administration were to ban TikTok, it could risk losing the support of an entire generation of voters under the age of 35.

On Monday, Ms. Raimondo and China’s commerce minister, Wang Wentao, reached an agreement to establish routine dialogues between the two nations on matters of commerce. These discussions will involve both business leaders and government representatives. 

Additionally, the two governments have committed to exchanging information, starting with a meeting between their senior aides in Beijing on Tuesday morning focused on the enforcement of US export controls.
On the same day, Raimondo held a meeting with China’s minister of culture and tourism, Hu Heping. This encounter took place within three weeks of Beijing's decision to lift the ban on group tours to the US, a restriction that had been imposed during the pandemic, when China had largely closed its borders for nearly three years.
During the meeting, the two ministers agreed on organizing an event in China early next year to boost the travel industry as part of an ongoing series of business promotion initiatives spearheaded by Ms. Raimondo.

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