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Senior U.S., China Officials Talk Trade, Exports

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao Thursday evening to talk “trade, investment and export policies” in the first Cabinet-level discussion between the two nations in months, Reuters reports.

What happened: The officials “had candid and substantive discussions on issues relating to the U.S.–China commercial relationship, including the overall environment in both countries for trade and investment and areas for potential cooperation,” the Commerce Department announced in a readout of the sit-down.

  • “Secretary Raimondo also raised concerns about the recent spate of [People’s Republic of China] actions taken against U.S. companies operating in the PRC,” including an uptick in investigations against these companies’ China operations.
  • Wang—who is also confirmed to meet today with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai—voiced concerns over some of the Biden administration’s China policies, “including on semiconductors, export controls and reviews of foreign investments, a Chinese Commerce Ministry statement said,” according to Reuters.
  • Both meetings are taking place on the sidelines of U.S.-hosted meetings at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization happening this week in Detroit.

What they agreed: Raimondo and Wang said they would begin and maintain open communication, which China’s Commerce Ministry said would let the two countries discuss specific trade and cooperation matters.

Additional background: Earlier this week, Wang met with U.S. firms, with whom he stressed “the importance of the China market for American companies,” reports the South China Morning Post (subscription).

Why it’s important: Thursday’s Raimondo–Wang exchange comes after President Biden and other G7 leaders “said they would ‘de-risk’ without ‘decoupling’ from the world’s second-largest economy in everything from chips to minerals,” according to Reuters.

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