Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
May 26, 2023
China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met with his counterpart Gina Raimondo in DC yesterday and met with USTR Kathrine Tai in Detroit today. The meetings were long overdue and are welcome news even though there were no substantiative conclusions. But the US and China bilateral challenges are ahead with global impacts!
These meetings, at least, mean that both the US and China recognize and agree that bilateral trades between the two largest economies in the world heading toward a freefall “decoupling” are too dangerous for the world. The world economy is very weak, even the US and China work hand-in-hand will not be able to rebalance it overnight. However, if the US and China do not resolve or hold their trade war, there is nothing but disasters ahead.
The US and China are competing for global dominance, but it does not have to be a zero-sum winner take all game. In fact, today’s world faces many serious but common challenges than bilateral contests. The key is for the US and China to take a joint leadership addressing critical global issues including regional conflicts, poverty, global climate challenges.
The ministerial level of bilateral meetings will hopefully create an atmosphere for res-setting the US-China relation. But as the US is entering the 2024 general election phase and the bipartisan bickering on every issue including the US national debt ceiling deadline less than 10 days away, realistically the best hope is that the US-China relation does not deteriorate any further.
US, China wrangle on trade in rare talks
Fri, May 26, 2023 at 12:55 PM PDT
The United States and China sparred over trade issues Friday but promised to keep lines of communication open as Beijing’s commerce minister paid a rare visit after a period of soaring tensions.
Minister Wang Wentao met US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade meeting in Detroit, a day after he saw his counterpart Gina Raimondo in Washington.
Tai “discussed the importance of the US-China trade relationship in the global economy and the need for both sides to continue engaging with one another,” her office said in a statement.
China’s state-run Xinhua agency said that the meeting in Detroit was “candid, pragmatic and in-depth.”
It said Wang raised concern about US trade policies as well as on Taiwan, the self-ruling democracy which Beijing claims and has not ruled out taking by force.
Both Tai and Raimondo in turn voiced concern about China’s actions against US companies. China recently restricted purchases from US chip giant Micron, citing security risks.
The move was widely interpreted as retaliation after President Joe Biden imposed a sweeping ban on China’s access to US advanced semiconductors, fearing that Beijing will put them to military use and dominate the global market for emerging technologies.
It was one of the first visits by a high-ranking Chinese official since Biden took office, although the environment minister traveled to Washington last year.
China’s new ambassador to Washington, Xie Feng, also met Thursday with the State Department’s third highest-ranking official, Victoria Nuland.
Xie, speaking on his arrival in Washington this week, said there were “profound differences” between the two countries.
“This relationship has gone through many twists and turns in the past half century, yet it has always been able to move ahead. The relationship is too important for us to let it fail,” he said.
US Trade Rep Tai objects to Chinese policies in commerce minister meeting
Fri, May 26, 2023 at 10:09 AM PDT
DETROIT (Reuters) -U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai raised complaints about China’s state-led economic policies during a meeting with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao on Friday, but emphasized the need for the two countries to continue engagement, her office said.
“Ambassador Tai highlighted the need to address the critical imbalances caused by China’s state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade policy,” USTR said in a statement released after the meeting on the sidelines of an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Detroit.
“She also raised concerns about PRC (People’s Republic of China) actions taken against U.S. companies operating there,”
Wang’s meetings with Tai in Detroit and with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington on Thursday marked the first cabinet-level exchange in months between U.S. and Chinese officials, following a series of setbacks that raised tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Tai stressed the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between Washington and Beijing as they spoke on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Detroit, the statement said.
China’s Commerce Ministry late on Thursday said he raised concerns with Raimondo about U.S. trade, investment and export policies.
US, Chinese trade officials express concern about each other’s restrictions
Thu, May 25, 2023 at 9:50 PM PDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart, Wang Wentao, expressed concern Thursday about policies of each other’s governments following Chinese raids on consulting firms and U.S. curbs on exports of semiconductor technology, their governments said.
The two sides announced no progress in disputes over technology and security but said Raimondo and Wang promised to strengthen exchanges on trade issues.
Companies from both sides have been buffeted by tighter official controls on trade in semiconductors and other activity on security grounds. Political relations between the two governments are at their lowest level in decades following disputes over technology, security, China’s territorial claims and Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong and ethnic minorities.
Raimondo “raised concerns” about Chinese actions against U.S. companies in China, her office said in a statement. It said they also discussed the trade and investment environment and “areas for potential cooperation” but gave no details.
Wang “expressed key concerns” about U.S. policy on semiconductors, exports and trade, his ministry said. It gave no details.
President Joe Biden has tightened restrictions imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump, on access to design, manufacturing and other technologies that Washington and its allies say might be used to improve Chinese weapons at a time when Beijing is threatening to attack Taiwan and is involved in territorial disputes with other neighbors.
The two governments have yet to resume face-to-face negotiations over ending a tariff war that was sparked by Trump’s increase in import taxes on Chinese goods over complaints about Beijing’s industrial policy and complaints about technology theft.