Top US and Chinese trade officials meet to discuss trade concerns

Flags of the United States and China stand behind a microphone at the US Embassy in Beijing on April 9, 2009.

Frederick J Brown | AFP | Getty Images

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

In the first cabinet-level exchange between the two countries in months, the United States spoke about American companies operating in China.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Commerce, “the two had frank and substantive discussions on issues related to the trade relationship between the United States and China, including the general environment in both countries for trade and investment and areas of potential cooperation.”

Raimondo also raised concerns about the recent wave of the People’s Republic of China [People’s Republic of China] Actions Taken Against U.S. Companies Operating in the People’s Republic of China.”

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

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G7 leaders met in Hiroshima at the weekend, vowing to “de-risk and diversify” from dependence on China, adding that some of Beijing’s practices are “distorting the global economy.”

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

Earlier this week, China announced that it would ban some product purchases from the US memory chip maker micron – Banning of “critical information infrastructure” operators in China following a security review conducted by the Cyberspace Administration of China.

In response, a US Commerce Department spokesperson said: “We resolutely oppose restrictions that have no basis in reality.” He said the ministry would communicate with the Chinese government to “detail” its position and seek clarification.

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

“The two sides agreed to establish communication channels to maintain and enhance exchanges on specific economic and trade concerns and cooperation issues,” she added.

Wang is expected to meet US Trade Representative Catherine Tai during his visit to the United States, where he is scheduled to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum trade ministers’ meeting.

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