Raimondo: crucial US, China have stable economic relationship

By David Shepardson

BEIJING (Reuters) -U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo opened talks with Chinese government officials on Monday saying it is “profoundly important” the world’s two largest economies have a stable economic relationship.

Raimondo is looking to boost business ties as U.S. firms have reported increasing challenges with operating in China, while China has sharply criticized U.S. efforts to block China’s access to advanced semiconductors.

Raimondo said the entire world expects the United States and China will have a stable economic relationship; the two countries share more than $700 billion in annual trade.

“It’s a complicated relationship. It’s a challenging relationship. We will of course disagree on certain issues,” Raimondo said. “I think we can make progress if we are direct, open and practical.”

Raimondo is holding three days of talks with Chinese and business leaders in China to boost business ties between the world’s two largest economies. She is scheduled to meet with Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao for about two hours on Monday.

Wang said US-China economic relations matter not just to our two countries, but also the rest of the world and appreciated Raimondo’s remarks that she likes trade with China.

He said he was ready to work together to “foster a more favorable policy environment for stronger cooperation between our businesses to bolster bilateral trade and investment in a stable and predictable manner.”

Raimondo said the United States and China “have worked over the summer to establish new information exchanges and working groups that will enable us to have more consistent engagement in our relationship.”

Some Republicans in Congress have criticized the suggestion that the United States would agree to a working group with China on the subject of export controls on advanced semiconductor chips. Raimondo has declared any discussion of U.S. export restrictions at slowing Beijing’s military advances off-limits.

“Of course of matters of national security, there is no room to compromise or negotiate,” she said, adding the vast majority does not impact national security concerns.

As an example of that, Raimondo will visit a personal care product showcase in China later Monday.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Michael Perry)