A top official in the Biden administration recently said that businesses in the U.S. are starting to get fed up trying to figure out how to properly deal with the fact that China is so unpredictable.
Over the weekend, Gina Raimondo, the Commerce Secretary, appeared on a number of different TV programs to speak about a recent trip she took to China. On the “Face the Nation” program on CBS, she said creating an environment that’s both competitive and fair was a major issue as concerns persist regarding raids that Chinese authorities have conducted, efforts to preserve trade secrets and opaque regulations.
As Raimondo said:
“I’ll tell you, prior to going to China, I personally spoke with more than 100 U.S. business leaders and labor leaders. And what they tell me is that even the ones that have been doing business in China for decades … these are sophisticated people used to dealing with the traditional concerns of … IP theft or non-market practices.
“They say it’s much harder now, right? China is making it more difficult because of the reasons you say – the raids, the counter-espionage law. They are going to make a business decision to do business in other countries unless that improves.”
She added that she was “very clear” in communicating with the Chinese officials she met with that the patience of American business owners is wearing thin. She stressed how important it was to create an environment that’s predictable and that has a level playing field.
“Hopefully, China will heed that message so we can have a stable [and] growing commercial relationship.”
Last week, the Commerce Secretary went to China in part to map out areas of cooperation the two countries could etch out for commerce, as well as address some “challenges” that U.S. businesses are facing.
As part of her trip, she met with Wang Wentao, China’s minister of commerce. He said that economic and trade relations between the U.S. and China are suitable for the economy of the world.
However, he did also raise some concern regarding issues that China prioritizes, including policies about semiconductors, restrictions on investments and tariffs, according to a readout provided by the Chinese embassy in the U.S.
Relations between the U.S. and China have been a major focus of the Biden administration recently. Janet Yellen, the Treasury Secretary, made her own trip to the country to try to improve the relations between the two world powers.
A “great deal of progress” was made during Raimondo’s trip, she says. She believes that the fact that new communication lines were opened is important, in addition to the fact that the two sides agreed they would start to share information about controls on exports.
She also added, though, that it was important to balance commercial interests of the two countries with national security concerns.
Raimond said officials in China gave her “verbal assurances” that businesses in the U.S. would be treated “fairly, that they will not engage in non-market practices which hurt American workers.”