Tai’s office emphasized the importance of ongoing engagement between the two countries
In a high-level meeting held on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Detroit, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai conveyed complaints regarding China’s state-led economic policies. Despite raising these concerns, Tai’s office emphasized the importance of ongoing engagement between the two countries. The meeting, which took place on Friday, marked the first cabinet-level exchange between U.S. and Chinese officials in several months, following a series of setbacks that strained relations between the world’s two largest economies.
Addressing Imbalances in China’s Economic Approach
During the meeting, Ambassador Tai emphasized the need to address the critical imbalances resulting from China’s state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade policy, as stated in a press release by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. Tai also expressed concerns about actions taken by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) against U.S. companies operating in China.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai stressed the significance of maintaining open lines of communication between Washington and Beijing. The statement released by her office highlighted the importance of continued engagement and dialogue between the two countries. Tai emphasized this point during her discussions with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, as they spoke at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Detroit.
Cabinet-Level Exchanges Signal Potential Progress
The meetings between Wang Wentao and Katherine Tai in Detroit, as well as Wang’s meeting with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington the previous day, marked the first cabinet-level exchanges between U.S. and Chinese officials in months. This signifies a potential step towards positive progress in bilateral relations, following recent setbacks that heightened tensions between the two nations.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to engage in more frequent communication during a G20 summit held in Indonesia last November. The aim was to prevent escalating tensions from spiraling into a new Cold War. However, these plans encountered various setbacks, including the downing of a Chinese spy balloon in U.S. coastal waters.
Trade Disputes and Recent Developments
Recent irritants in the U.S.-China relationship include the commitment by G7 leaders to resist China’s “economic coercion” and China’s subsequent declaration of U.S. memory chip maker Micron Technology (MU.O) as a national security risk. This declaration led to a ban on Micron’s sales to crucial domestic industries in China.
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not provide an immediate comment on the meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao. However, China’s Commerce Ministry expressed concerns to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo about U.S. trade, investment, and export policies during a meeting the previous day.