U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao met in Washington D.C. to engage in discussions concerning the bilateral trade relationship between the two countries. This marked the first cabinet-level exchange between the U.S. and China in several months. The meeting aimed to address concerns and foster cooperation in trade and investment between the two nations.
According to a readout by the Commerce Department, the talks were characterized by candid and substantive discussions. The officials covered a wide range of topics, including the overall trade and investment environments in both countries, as well as potential areas for collaboration. Raimondo expressed concerns about recent actions taken by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) against American companies operating in China.
The meeting between Raimondo and Wang is taking place at a time when tensions between the U.S. and China have been escalating, leading to speculation about potential restrictions on American investments into China. The Group of Seven (G7) leaders recently gathered in Hiroshima and expressed their commitment to reducing reliance on China and diversifying their economic partnerships, citing certain Chinese practices that distort the global economy.
Increasing Friction and Concerns in U.S.-China Trade Relations
The high-level talks between the commerce officials occurred amidst reports of China conducting inspections on U.S. audit firms in the mainland over alleged national security breaches. Additionally, China announced a ban on certain purchases of products from U.S. memory chipmaker Micron, specifically targeting operators of critical information infrastructure, after a security review conducted by the Cyberspace Administration of China.
In response to China’s actions, the U.S. Commerce Department’s spokesperson firmly opposed the restrictions, emphasizing that they lacked factual basis. The department plans to engage with the Chinese government to provide detailed explanations of its position and seek clarity on the matter.
The Ministry of Commerce of China, in its release after the meeting between Wang and Raimondo, highlighted Wang’s concerns regarding U.S. policies on semiconductors and export controls. Both parties agreed to establish communication channels to maintain and strengthen exchanges on specific economic and trade concerns, as well as cooperation matters.
During his visit to the U.S., Wang is also expected to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers’ meeting.