DETROIT - US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao traded barbs on trade, investment and export policies in talks on Thursday described by Ms Raimondo’s office as “candid and substantive”.
Their meeting in Washington was the first US-China cabinet-level exchange in months, after a string of trade and national security irritants derailed plans for re-engagement between the world’s two largest economies.
“The two had candid and substantive discussions on issues relating to the US-China commercial relationship, including the overall environment in both countries for trade and investment and areas for potential cooperation,” the Commerce Department said in a statement.
“Secretary Raimondo also raised concerns about the recent spate of PRC (People’s Republic of China) actions taken against US companies operating in the PRC,” the statement added.
Mr Wang raised key concerns about US policies toward China, including on semiconductors, export controls and reviews of foreign investments, a Chinese Commerce Ministry statement said.
Both sides agreed to establish and maintain open communication channels, with Raimondo’s office saying that would help “responsibly manage the relationship.”
China’s Commerce Ministry said the communications would allow exchanges on specific economic trade concerns and cooperation matters.
Mr Wang is also expected to meet with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on the sidelines of an Apec trade ministers meeting in Detroit that wraps up on Friday.
US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged more frequent communication at a G-20 summit in Indonesia last November to avoid US-China tensions from spilling into a new Cold War.