Joe Biden’s top trade official and China’s commerce minister held talks on economic and trade disputes, in the latest signs of tentative efforts to stabilize relations between the two superpowers.
US Trade Representative Catherine Tai met with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Detroit on Friday. It raised concerns about Beijing’s actions against US companies as well as its “non-market” approach to economics and trade policy, according to a statement from her office.
According to a statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce, Wang spoke about China’s concerns about Taiwan, Trump-era tariffs on US companies buying from China and Biden’s Pacific Economic Framework — a trade agreement that excludes China and focuses on infrastructure, supply chain resilience, and cleanliness. energy.
The meeting came five days after the US president predicted an imminent “thaw” in relations at the end of the G7 summit. It also came a day after Wang held talks with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, in the first visit by a senior Chinese official to the US capital since 2020.
After Friday’s meeting, the two sides stressed the need to keep communication channels open.
Earlier in May, Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, met US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan at talks in Vienna, in a bid to stabilize relations between the two countries.
Analysts are now stepping up calls for Washington and Beijing to take advantage of a rare opportunity for high-level bilateral discussions.
This includes the possibility of a new round of climate change talks between John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua, climate envoys for the world’s two largest economies, who have previously pledged joint action on climate change despite strained relations. There are also hopes that Xi and Biden will meet during the APEC leaders’ summit in the United States in November.
However, with relations between the United States and China at their lowest point in decades, efforts to stabilize diplomatic activities have struggled to get off the ground, with the two sides clashing over new restrictions on access to technology as well as Xi’s support for Vladimir Putin in the face of it. of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
China last week ordered a group of its infrastructure companies to stop buying from US chipmaker Micron, just hours after the Group of Seven issued its harshest criticism of Beijing. On Wednesday, Xi met Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Beijing and called for deepening trade, economic and energy ties with Russia, sidestepping Western pressure to reduce support for Putin.
Also on Friday, the Justice Department revealed the charges against two Los Angeles residents for bribery and participation in a state-directed scheme targeting practitioners in the United States of the Falun Gong religious movement, which is banned in China.
“The Department of Justice continues to expose the Chinese government’s brazen attempts to commit transnational repression, this time through attempted bribery,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.
Additional reporting by James Politi in Washington and Mikey Deng in Beijing