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Negotiations Between U.S. and China Intensify in Effort to Reduce Tensions

The United States and China have agreed to hold regular conversations on commercial issues and restrictions on access to advanced technology as part of ongoing efforts to reduce tensions between the two countries. This agreement was announced during a visit to Beijing by Gina Raimondo, the U.S. commerce secretary, who is currently meeting with senior Chinese officials in Beijing and Shanghai.

The establishment of regular discussions marks another step forward in rebuilding the relationship between the two countries. Senior American officials, including Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, and John Kerry, the president’s climate envoy, have already visited China in the past 10 weeks to initiate this process.

In an interview after four hours of negotiations with China’s commerce minister, Wang Wentao, Secretary Raimondo expressed optimism about the agreement, stating, “I think it’s a very good sign that we agreed to concrete dialogue…this is an official channel.”

During her visit to Beijing, Secretary Raimondo raised concerns about China’s recent actions against Intel and Micron Technology, two semiconductor companies in the United States. The Chinese government has blocked some sales in China by Micron and scuttled a large acquisition planned by Intel.

To address these issues, two separate dialogues will be established. One working group will include business representatives and focus on commercial issues, while the other will be a governmental information exchange on U.S. enforcement of its export controls.

In the past, bilateral talks on trade, technology, and economic issues were common between the United States and China. However, these discussions have diminished in recent years. China halted eight bilateral discussion groups a year ago in response to a visit to Taiwan by Representative Nancy Pelosi.

Relations between China and the United States have faced challenges, including the flight of a Chinese spy balloon over the United States and subsequent tensions. Nevertheless, both countries have shown a willingness to resume diplomatic ties and work towards resolving their differences.

Following the meeting, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce expressed its concerns about U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports and the Biden administration’s efforts to support the U.S. semiconductor industry through government subsidies. China sees these subsidy programs as “discriminatory” and has also expressed concerns about U.S. sanctions on Chinese companies.

Despite these concerns, China has indicated its willingness to work with the United States to create a favorable policy environment for business cooperation.

The announcement of increased dialogue between the two countries has received criticism from some China analysts in the United States. However, proponents argue that the establishment of more channels of communication is crucial for addressing practical issues.

The U.S. officials have conveyed concerns from American businesses and investors, including unfair requirements faced by foreign businesses and a lack of transparency in China’s economic statistics. Meanwhile, China has softened its stance on certain issues as its economy has faced challenges this summer. The willingness of Chinese officials to engage in discussions reflects an understanding of the importance of U.S.-China trade.

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