In a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Friday, July 7, 2023, U.S Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen urged for “regular channels of communication” between Washington and Beijing, saying that both countries have a duty to cooperate on issues that affect the world.
This comes as part of her ongoing visit in China which is aimed at bolstering ties at a time where relations are tense due to disputes over technology, security and other issues.
Yellen appealed to Li not to let frustration over U.S. restrictions on access to processor chips and other technology derail economic cooperation.
Yellen defended “targeted actions,” a reference to curbs on Chinese access to advanced processor chips and other technology, saying that they are needed to protect national security.
“You may disagree but we should not allow any disagreement to lead to misunderstandings that needlessly worsen our bilateral economic and financial relationships.”Janet Yellen
U.S. restrictions on Chinese access to technology threaten to delay or disrupt the ruling Communist Party’s efforts to develop telecoms, artificial intelligence and other technologies.
Beijing has been slow to retaliate, possibly to avoid disrupting its own tech industries.
However, this week, the Chinese government announced unspecified controls on exports of gallium and germanium, metals used in making semiconductors and solar panels. South Korea and other countries that import from China were alarmed by the announcement.
Though he gave no indication of possible changes in Chinese policies that have displeased Washington and its trading partners, Chinese Premier Li Qiang expressed optimism that conditions might improve.
In a statement, China’s finance ministry called Yellen’s visit a “concrete measure” toward carrying out an agreement by Xi and President Joe Biden during a meeting in November to improve relations.
“There will be no winners in trade wars or ‘decoupling and broken chains,” the statement read.
“We hope the United States will take concrete actions to create a favourable environment for the healthy development of economic and trade relations,” the statement added.
Yellen Criticizes China’s Treatment Of U.S. Companies
During a meeting with businesspeople earlier on Friday, Yellen criticized China’s treatment of U.S. companies.
According to a transcript released by the U.S treasury department., Yellen said, “I am communicating the concerns that I’ve heard from the U.S. business community — including China’s use of non-market tools like expanded subsidies for its state-owned enterprises and domestic firms, and barriers to market access for foreign firms.”
U.S. and other foreign companies are apprehensive about their status in China following raids on consulting firms, the expansion of a national security law and calls by Xi and other officials for greater self-sufficiency.
Furthermore, Yellen rejected suggestions that the U.S is trying to decouple, or separate its economy from China’s.
″I have made clear that the United States does not seek a wholesale separation of our economies,” Yellen informed the businesspeople.
“A decoupling of the world’s two largest economies would be destabilizing for the global economy, and it would be virtually impossible to undertake.”Janet Yellen
Also on Friday, Yellen met with the outgoing Governor of China’s central bank, Yi Gang, and former Vice Premier Liu He, previously her counterpart in finance talks, the Treasury disclosed.
U.S climate envoy, John Kerry, is scheduled to become the next U.S. official to visit China next week. China and the United States are the world’s top emitters of climate-changing carbon, making whatever steps they take critical.
The trip will be Kerry’s first to China since the country halted climate discussions with the U.S. in August in retaliation for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan.