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Outcomes of US official's visit seen as sincerity test

《中国日报》 2023-08-28

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo speaks during a Senate Appropriations hearing on the President's proposed budget request for fiscal year 2024, on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 16, 2023. Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart, Wang Wentao, expressed concern Thursday, May 25, 2023 about policies of each other's governments following Chinese raids on consulting firms and US curbs on exports of semiconductor technology, their governments said. [Photo/Agencies]

Meeting: Big breakthroughsnot expected

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo's four-day visit to China will help improve the conditions for future discussions amid bilateral relations, which remain at their lowest point in decades, analysts and business leaders said on Monday.

They also said that whether both sides can achieve constructive outcomes regarding the relaxation of controls on technology exports to China will test the sincerity of the United States.

The remarks came after Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met with Raimondo in Beijing on Monday.

During her stay in China from Sunday to Wednesday, the US commerce chief is scheduled to discuss issues related to US-China business ties and potential areas for cooperation with Chinese officials and US business leaders, according to information released last week by the US Department of Commerce.

Lyu Xiang, a researcher of US studies at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the US official's trip to China will contribute to enhancing the circumstances for future Sino-US discussions.

Maintaining stable economic and trade ties between China and the US is crucial not only for both countries, but also for the entire world, and in this regard, concrete action is required, he said.

With some media in the US reporting that one potential outcome of Raimondo's visit could be the formation of a working group with China's Ministry of Commerce to discuss export controls, Lyu said it would be a practical initial step if the two sides agreed to settle specific issues through dialogue.

Raimondo's visit comes just weeks after US President Joe Biden signed an executive order to block or regulate US high-tech investment in China covering sectors such as advanced computer chips, microelectronics, quantum information technologies and artificial intelligence.

Wei Zongyou, a professor at the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, said that face-to-face, in-depth communication is obviously much better than no talks at all. However, based on experience, it is unlikely that Wang's meeting with Raimondo will yield major breakthroughs on issues such as investment restrictions on high-end technologies in China, Wei said.

Although Washington has recently emphasized the importance of bolstering high-level exchanges between the two nations to better manage differences and seek cooperation, the Biden administration's attempt to strike a balance between competition, confrontation and cooperation remains unchanged, he added.

While many high-level US officials have discouraged pursuing a policy of decoupling from China, the US has promoted a policy of de-risking, said Xu Bu, president of the China Institute of International Studies.

In high-tech areas, the US is likely to continue wielding monopoly power and resorting to arbitrary trade and investment restrictions in the name of national security to suppress China's development and maintain US technological hegemony, Xu said.

Speaking at the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers' Meeting last week in Jaipur, India, Wang Shou­wen, vice-minister of commerce and China's international trade representative, called on G20 economies to oppose the practice of broadening the concept of national security, misusing export controls and trade remedies, employing state influence to target foreign enterprises, and engaging in unilateral, protectionist behavior.

Highlighting China's massive market and well-developed industrial system, Ding Hongyu, senior vice-president of 3M Co and president of 3M China, said that the US multinational group will continue to invest in local manufacturing and innovation capabilities in China in the years ahead.

The Chinese economy has shifted from high-speed growth to high-quality development, he said, adding that investing in fields such as vehicle electrification, home improvement and consumer electronics presents significant opportunities for 3M.

Raj Subramaniam, president and CEO of FedEx Corp, said the US transportation and delivery service provider attaches great importance to the Chinese market.

We hope to further deepen communication and cooperation with both the Chinese government and business partners in the future, and strive to serve as a bridge for promoting economic and trade exchanges between China and the US, said Subramaniam, who also is vice-chair of the US-China Business Council.