US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with her Chinese counterpart in Beijing on Monday, saying it was “profoundly important” for the world’s two biggest economies to have a stable relationship.
Her visit is the latest in a series of high-level trips to China by US officials in recent months as Washington works to cool trade tensions with Beijing.
The trips could culminate in a meeting between their leaders, with US President Joe Biden saying recently that he was expecting to sit down with China’s Xi Jinping this year.
Raimondo met on Monday morning with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, describing the economic relationship between the two countries as “the most significant in the world”.
“We share $700 billion dollars of trade and I concur with you that it is profoundly important that we have a stable economic relationship,” she said, according to a readout from the US Commerce Department.
“It’s a complicated relationship; it’s a challenging relationship,” she told Wang.
“We will of course disagree on certain issues, but I believe we can make progress if we are direct, open, and practical.”
Raimondo arrived in Beijing on Sunday and was met by Lin Feng, the director of the commerce ministry’s Americas and Oceania department, as well as US ambassador to China Nicholas Burns.
In posts on the social media platform X, Raimondo said she was “looking forward to a productive few days”.
During her trip, she will also travel to China’s economic powerhouse Shanghai, the US Commerce Department said. She will leave on Wednesday.
– Trade tensions –
Relations between the United States and China have plummeted to some of their lowest levels in decades, with US trade curbs near the top of the laundry list of disagreements.
Washington says they are crucial to safeguarding national security, but China sees them as seeking to curb its economic rise.
This month, Biden issued an executive order aimed at restricting certain US investments in sensitive high-tech areas in China — a move Beijing blasted as being “anti-globalisation”.
The long-anticipated rules, expected to be implemented next year, target sectors such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sought to reassure Chinese officials about the expected curbs during a visit to Beijing last month, promising that any new moves would be implemented in a transparent way.
And Raimondo on Monday told Chinese officials that while there was “no room to compromise or negotiate” on US national security, “the vast majority of our trade and investment relationship does not involve national security concerns”.
“We believe a strong Chinese economy is a good thing,” she said.
In June, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken travelled to Beijing, where he met Xi and said progress had been made on a number of key sources of contention. US climate envoy John Kerry also visited China in July.
But none of the visits led to major breakthroughs, and a recent Camp David summit between the United States, South Korea and Japan aimed in part at countering China sparked condemnation from Beijing.
Following that summit, Biden said he still expected to meet Xi this year.
The US president is inviting the Chinese leader to San Francisco in November, when the United States holds a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which includes China.
They could also potentially meet next month in New Delhi on the sidelines of a G20 summit.
Originally published as US commerce secretary meets Chinese counterpart in Beijing