U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao attend a meeting in Beijing, China August 28, 2023. REUTERS/David Shepardson

BEIJING (Agencies): Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo engaged in “rational, candid, and constructive” discussions on Monday during the second day of Raimondo’s four-day visit to China. The two sides announced the establishment of new communication channels to address various issues between them.

In a late-night statement, the Chinese Commerce Ministry (MOFCOM) revealed that Wang expressed serious concerns about US policies towards China, including Section 301 tariffs, semiconductor policies, investment restrictions, and sanctions on Chinese companies. Wang emphasized that stretching the concept of national security hinders bilateral trade.

While the establishment of communication mechanisms indicates a commitment to resolving disputes, experts noted that concrete actions by the US are crucial for a stable economic and trade relationship with China. Despite inherent differences, stabilizing economic ties could aid the US in addressing its economic challenges, such as high inflation and recessionary pressures, given China’s resilient economy, experts suggested.

  • Key Talks Observed

China Media Group reported that Wang and Raimondo met on Monday morning. Video footage of their positive interaction was shared by several news outlets. According to MOFCOM’s statement, Wang emphasized the importance of economic and trade relations between China and the US, expressing willingness to cooperate based on mutual respect and win-win principles.

Raimondo echoed the significance of a stable economic relationship, emphasizing its benefit to both countries and the world. The US Commerce Department also stressed the importance of open communication.

Significantly, both sides announced the establishment of new communication channels, including a working group and regular meetings. A mechanism for export controls and consultations on protecting trade secrets during administrative licensing were also introduced.

Experts, including Bai Ming from the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, noted that while these mechanisms are procedural enhancements, tangible actions from the US are essential.

The US showcase of personal care products during Raimondo’s trip aims to underscore non-security-related trade possibilities. However, Chinese experts cautioned against expecting too much from the US, given its selective approach to improving economic ties.

Wu Xinbo from Fudan University emphasized that even as the US prioritizes restrictions in its overall China strategy, efforts to stabilize trade relations are valuable for both nations.

  • Economic Benefit for the US

Experts highlighted the necessity of cooperation between the world’s two largest economies amid global challenges. US officials’ attempts to stabilize economic ties with China align with the US’ economic requirements. The US economy faces inflation and recession concerns, prompting the need for improved economic figures.

Tian Yun, an economist, noted that while the US aims to contain China, it also recognizes China’s importance in boosting its domestic economy, particularly ahead of upcoming elections. Tian highlighted China’s resilience as an indispensable partner for the US.

Despite challenges, China’s proactive policy adjustments are set to propel growth, anticipated to outpace other major economies. Cooperation between China and the US, contributing over 50 percent to global growth, is considered vital amid the ongoing downturn.

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