Beijing willing to bolster cooperation, Premier Li tells visiting commerce chief
The meeting in Beijing on Tuesday between top officials from China and the United States has provided a forum for the two sides to reestablish dialogue mechanisms and help properly handle trade friction, analysts and business leaders said.
During his meeting with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Premier Li Qiang said that economic and trade relations between China and the U.S. are mutually beneficial and win-win in nature, and that China is willing to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with the U.S. in the economic and trade fields. He also called on the U.S. to work together with China and take more pragmatic actions.
Vice-Premier He Lifeng also met with Raimondo. The two sides had candid, pragmatic and constructive discussions on implementing the important consensus reached at the meeting in Bali in November between the two countries' heads of state, as well as on economic and trade issues of common concern, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The Chinese side expressed its concerns over measures taken by the U.S., such as tariffs imposed under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, export controls against China and investment restrictions. The two sides agreed to continue to maintain communication and support enterprises of the two countries in carrying out pragmatic cooperation, Xinhua reported.
On Monday, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met with Raimondo, and the two sides agreed on concrete steps to ensure open lines of communication between the world's two largest economies on export controls and commercial issues.
Wang also called on the U.S. to deliver on its commitment to not seek decoupling from China, and raised serious concerns about issues such as U.S. semiconductor policies, discriminatory subsidies and sanctions on Chinese enterprises.
While upholding the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, China is willing to work with the U.S. to foster an enabling policy environment for cooperation between the two countries' business communities, Wang said.
Analysts said both sides are striving to put dialogue mechanisms, which have been seriously disrupted by the U.S.' damaging unilateral trade measures and policies toward China, back in place to help restore economic relations.
The two sides agreed to maintain regular communication, with the two commerce chiefs agreeing to meet at least once a year.
Wu Xinbo, dean of Fudan University's Institute of International Studies, said that China and the U.S. share extensive interconnected interests and cooperate widely on trade and investment, and that appropriate handling of friction will lay a solid foundation for stable economic ties.
Although immediate changes like the U.S. reversing tariffs or lifting high-tech investment restrictions are yet to happen as a result of the high-level talks, modest yet measurable progress has been made in establishing government-to-government communication mechanisms, with the participation of enterprises also emphasized, Wu said.
A bilateral working group involving government officials and business sector representatives to seek solutions on specific commerce issues has been set up, and it will meet twice a year at the vice-ministerial level, with the first session to be hosted by the U.S. in early 2024, according to Chinese and U.S. statements.
Meanwhile, the two sides have initiated an export control information exchange mechanism, which will serve as a platform for understanding their respective export control systems and improving communication.
He Weiwen, senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, said it is a positive sign that the two countries have scheduled a series of meetings via newly established mechanisms, which will enhance the transparency of export control enforcement and facilitate normal business and trade cooperation.
While such moves will shore up exchanges and reduce misunderstandings, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is unlikely to abandon its hard line, and Washington will probably continue to insist on hampering China's development of cutting-edge technologies, including semiconductors and artificial intelligence, He Weiwen added.
Moving ahead, more tangible steps from the U.S. are needed, rather than simply vowing not to decouple from China, in order to better resolve conflicts and bridge differences on the economic and trade front, the senior fellow said.
Rosa Chen, vice-president of Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, a subsidiary of Danaher Corp, a U.S.-based industrial conglomerate, said that with the Chinese government's new guidelines to provide a more favorable business environment and broader market opportunities for foreign-invested enterprises, the company's manufacturing and innovation capabilities will be further enhanced in China.
As Danaher's single largest investment project in China, the R&D and manufacturing center of Danaher'a diagnostics platform in the country will be officially launched later this year.
"We will continue to accelerate our localization process to quickly respond to the diverse needs of Chinese clients," Chen said.