US Trade Representative and Chinese Commerce Minister clash on the sidelines of APEC

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai raised complaints about China’s state-directed economic policies during a meeting on Friday with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, who has opposed tariffs and trade policies Americans, their offices said.

But statements from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and China’s Commerce Ministry both underscored the need for Washington and Beijing to maintain communication on trade.

“Ambassador Tai underscored the need to address the critical imbalances caused by China’s non-market, state-led approach to economics and trade policy,” the USTR said in a statement released. following the meeting on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference. in Detroit.

“She also expressed her concerns about the PRC [People’s Republic of China] action taken against U.S. companies operating there,” the statement read.

China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement that Wang had raised complaints about US economic and trade policies toward China, including US tariffs on Chinese products, Taiwan-related economic and trade issues and the Indian economic framework. -Pacific (IPEF) led by the United States. excludes China.

Tai on Saturday will hold a ministerial meeting of countries participating in the IPEF talks, which exclude China and aim to provide a US-centric alternative to its influence. Last week, she announced the first trade agreements with Taiwan. China claims the self-governing island as its own territory.

The USTR is conducting a four-year review of U.S. tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports, imposed in 2018 and 2019 by then-President Donald Trump.

FILE – Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao is pictured on the sidelines of a meeting with Australian officials in Beijing on May 12, 2023.

Tai has long raised objections to China’s attempts to dominate certain industries using massive state subsidies and said such issues continue to arise in the relationship.

Asked at a press conference whether the United States would use other trade tools to fight China’s practices, such as a new “Section 301” investigation that could lead to more U.S. tariffs, Tai said “aspects” of the Biden administration’s response were already evident in US economic policies.

“The benefit of sitting down and having a conversation with people in Beijing is that we can better understand ourselves and how we experience the impacts we have on other people’s economies,” Tai said.

Cabinet level discussion

Wang’s meetings with Tai in Detroit and with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington on Thursday marked the first Cabinet-level exchanges in months between U.S. and Chinese officials, following a series of setbacks that have heightened tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Tai stressed the importance of keeping lines of communication open between Washington and Beijing as they spoke on the sidelines of APEC, according to the US statement.

The Chinese statement had a similar tone to concerns raised with Raimondo about US trade, investment and export policies.

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping promised more frequent communications at a G20 summit in Indonesia last November to prevent US-China tensions from escalating into a new Cold War.

But those plans suffered several setbacks, starting with the downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon in US coastal waters.

These irritants continued last Sunday, when Group of Seven leaders pledged to resist China’s ‘economic coercion’ and Beijing responded by declaring US memory chip maker Micron Technology a national security risk. , banning its sales to major domestic industries.

USA voanews

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