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Commerce Secretary Rejects Idea of Disengaging From China

High-ranking United States and Chinese officials held a series of economic policy meetings on Tuesday in Beijing, in the latest sign that both countries are trying to stop the long deterioration in their relationship and restore communications.

Gina Raimondo, the U.S. commerce secretary, and other top officials from her department on Tuesday afternoon met with Vice Premier He Lifeng at the Great Hall of the People, next to Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing. Mr. He has broad oversight of economic policy, and has long been closely associated with Xi Jinping, China’s top leader.

Seated in a red-carpeted reception room on the second floor of the Great Hall, Mr. He said at the start of their meeting that he was ready to work with Ms. Raimondo, and hoped the United States would adopt rational and practical policies. She responded by laying out what the Biden administration sees as its priorities.

“The U.S.-China commercial relationship is one of the most globally consequential, and managing that relationship responsibly is critical to both our nations and indeed to the whole world,” Ms. Raimondo said. “And while we will never of course compromise in protecting our national security, I want to be clear that we do not seek to decouple or to hold China’s economy back.”

Ms. Raimondo also met with Premier Li Qiang, China’s second-highest official. In remarks ahead of that meeting, Ms. Raimondo said that the United States hopes that the commercial ties between the two countries “can provide stability for the overall relationship.” She added that there were areas of global concern — such as climate change, artificial intelligence and the fentanyl crisis — where “the world is expecting us to step up together to solve these problems.”

The commerce secretary, more than halfway through a four-day trip, is the fourth senior Biden administration official to travel to China in three months. American officials are trying to promote economic ties with China while also clamping down, in the interest of national security, on exports of advanced technologies with military applications.

On Monday, Ms. Raimondo and China’s commerce minister, Wang Wentao, agreed to hold regular discussions between the two countries on commercial issues. Those talks are set to include business leaders as well as government officials. The two governments also agreed to exchange information, starting with a meeting by their senior aides on Tuesday morning in Beijing, about how the United States enforces its export controls.

Ms. Raimondo met on Tuesday with China’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Hu Heping. That meeting came less than three weeks after Beijing lifted a ban on group tours to the United States that it had imposed during the pandemic, when China almost completely closed its borders for nearly three years.

The two ministers agreed at the meeting that the United States and China would host a gathering in China early next year to promote the travel industry, the latest in a series of business promotion activities that Ms. Raimondo has been organizing.

Travel from China to the United States remains at less than a third of prepandemic levels, the United States Travel Association, an industry group, said on Saturday.

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