During a visit to China, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart agreed to establish new lines of communication to discuss trade policy. She emphasized the channels are aimed at transparency, not normalizing trade relations with Beijing.
The US and China made the deal to set up the new communication forums during a meeting between Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao. A US official said the new channels will allow Washington to inform Beijing on how to follow American tariffs and trade restrictions.
“[The channels are] meant to be a dialogue, where we increase transparency, and when we are clear about what we are doing,” Raimondo said after the meeting. “I want to be clear that we are not compromising or negotiating in matters of national security. Period.”
Raimondo, who is in China for a four-day trip and traveling with American business representatives, explained US business asked her to create the lines of communication. She went on to emphasize the importance of the US-Chinese trade. “The world is counting on the US and China to responsibly manage and maintain our commercial relationship,” Raimondo said.
However, Presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden have imposed sweeping trade restrictions, tariffs, sanctions and other economic penalties on Beijing over the past decade. Concurrently, Washington has engaged in its largest military buildup since WWII in countries surrounding China.
Washington’s aggressive military and trade policy has caused its relationship with Beijing to plummet to a historic low point. Additionally, Joe Biden administration officials, including the President, have routinely mishandled diplomacy with China, often creating unnecessary tensions.
Raimondo’s visit may be an opportunity to reverse the downward spiraling US-China ties. In a press release, Beijing described the talks as constructive. “The two sides had rational, candid and constructive communication on China-U.S. trade and economic relations and issues of mutual concern,” it said.
Any diplomatic progress will likely face immediate roadblocks. Raimondo emphasized that Washington is unwilling to take any steps it claims threaten US national security. While Wang said “that overgeneralization of national security is not conducive to normal trade and economic exchanges, and that unilateral and protectionist measures, which are inconsistent with market rules and the principle of fair competition, will only disturb the security and stability of global industrial and supply chains.”