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Stable U.S.-China economic ties are ‘profoundly important,’ commerce secretary says

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo opened talks with Chinese government officials in the latest visit by a senior U.S. official to the world’s second-largest economy.
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/ Source: Reuters

BEIJING — Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo opened talks with Chinese government officials on Monday, saying it is “profoundly important” for the world’s two largest economies to have a stable economic relationship.

Raimondo is looking to strengthen business ties as U.S. firms have reported increasing challenges with operating in China, while China has sharply criticized U.S. efforts to block its access to advanced semiconductors.

Raimondo said the entire world expects the United States and China will have a stable economic relationship; the two countries share more than $700 billion in annual trade.

“It’s a challenging relationship. We will of course disagree on certain issues,” Raimondo said. “I think we can make progress if we are direct, open and practical.”

Raimondo, who is holding three days of talks with Chinese and business leaders to strengthen ties, was set to meet Commerce Minister Wang Wentao for about two hours on Monday.

Wang said U.S.-China economic relations matter not just to the two countries but also the rest of the world, and expressed appreciation for remarks by Raimondo that she likes trade with China.

He said he was ready to work together to “foster a more favorable policy environment for stronger cooperation between our businesses to bolster bilateral trade and investment in a stable and predictable manner.”

Raimondo said the United States and China have “worked over the summer to establish new information exchanges and working groups that will enable us to have more consistent engagement in our relationship.”

Some Republicans in Congress have criticized the suggestion that the United States would agree to a working group with China on export controls on advanced semiconductor chips.

Raimondo has declared off-limits any discussion of U.S. export curbs aimed at slowing Beijing’s military advances.

“Of course on matters of national security, there is no room to compromise or negotiate,” she said, adding that the vast majority did not impact national security concerns.

As an example of that, Raimondo was to visit a personal care product showcase in China later on Monday.