U.S. Economic Officials Are Poised To Take Center Stage In China Ties As Dictator Controversy Fades


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Two of the Biden administration’s top economic policy leaders – both women – may be poised to take center stage in U.S.-China relations after a high-level meeting intended to put a floor in acrimonious ties turned into a week of new round of tumult.

“Important economic issues will now enter the discussion, along with additional players,”, such as Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who met China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met in Washington last month, as well as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, said American Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sean Stein in a written exchange with Forbes on Wednesday. The former long-time U.S. diplomat is also currently a public policy practice advisor at law firm Covington in Shanghai.

The U.S. relationship with China is “too broad and complex to be anything but a team sport. Now the U.S. is going to bring more players onto the field,” Stein said.

Speaking at a news conference in Paris today, Yellen said it’s “critical” the U.S. and China maintain a relationship so they can “work together” on global challenges, the Voice of America reported.

President Biden’s reference to Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping as a dictator this week led to U.S. Ambassador Nicolas Burns being called in by China’s Foreign Ministry today for a rebuke, the Wall Street Journal reported today. In response to the bruhaha, Biden added today that he continues to expect to meet Xi in the near term. “And I don’t think it’s had any real consequence,” he reportedly said of the controversial remarks.

The stakes and rivalries between the U.S. and China were on full display in Washington today. American leaders welcomed regional Beijing rival India, the world’s most populous nation, through a warm reception for its Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Investment agreements by U.S. firms including Micron were noted amid a push by American firms to reduce supply chain ties to China.

Just this same week, two days of meetings in Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Xi, Director of the Communist Party Central Foreign Affairs Office Wang Yi, and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang were described as yielding “candid, substantive, and constructive discussions on key priorities in the bilateral relationship and on a range of global and regional issues” in a State Department statement.

The meetings between the U.S. and leaders of the two Asia powers are the latest twists in months of volatility in ties amid geopolitical rivalry. Military tension has soared since a Taiwan visit by then U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi last August; that was followed by hopes for improvement after a meeting between Biden and Xi in Bali in November, leading to expectations of a visit to China by Blinken.

That visit and talks between the two sides paused earlier this year after the U.S. downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the U.S. heartland in February created an uproar in Congress and set back momentum created by the Biden-Xi meeting in Bali. The U.S. hasn’t yet made public a full report on the balloon, whose details may be embarrassing to Beijing.

China, unhappy with U.S. sanctions against companies perceived as a threat to American national security, has since raided American research or due diligence companies in the mainland such as Bain and Mintz, and recently passed a national security law considered vague by experts, making it even harder for U.S. companies to proceed through the political thicket.

“The U.S. and Chinese leadership are taking steps to put a floor under the relationship,” Stein said. “They are doing this not because they have changed their baseline assumptions about the other country, but because they have determined that decoupling would be disastrous and that it is in their nations’ interest to stabilize the relationship.”

The Biden focus on strategic problems needs to make more room for economic issues given the deep trade and investment links between the two sides amid slower growth for the two. For its part, China is facing youth unemployment of around 20%.

“Engagement will no longer be limited to a handful of strategic issues and players,” Stein said.

Meetings among economic officials could help pave the way for a Xi visit to a meeting of APEC leaders in San Francisco in November. Blinken earlier this month concluded a trip to Saudi Arabia, where members of the Gulf Cooperation Council later gathered to express warm support of Arab-China business amid a big push by Beijing to expand its ties to that region.

Through the continuing dialog, “the U.S. is trying to show China that de-risking is fundamentally different than decoupling,” Stein remarked. “That was one of Blinken’s key messages, but the Chinese remain skeptical.”

See related posts:

“Diplomatic Drive-By?” Blinken Gets Short Meeting With Xi As U.S.-China Contacts, Conflicts Continue

Arab-China Investment, Manufacturing Poised To Grow After High-Profile Event In Riyadh

Gates Foundation To Donate $50 Million To Flight Infectious Disease, Partner With Beijing, Tsinghua

China’s “Fits And Starts” Economy Needs Private Sector Boost — Matthews Asia’s Andy Rothman

Forbes China Global 2000: China’s Ranks Thin As Real Estate Woes Persist

Elon Musk Visit To Beijing Highlights Business Role In U.S.-China Ties


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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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