Thursday marks a significant moment in U.S.-China relations, as Chinese Minister of Commerce, Wang Wentao, confirms a scheduled meeting with his U.S. counterparts, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Trade Representative Katherine Tai, during his visit to the United States. This is Wang's first visit to the U.S. since the onset of the Biden administration.
Wang's arrival in the U.S. will feature an initial meeting with Raimondo in Washington, D.C., according to Shu Jueting, spokesperson for the Chinese commerce ministry. This meeting is the first cabinet-level rendezvous between Chinese and American officials in the U.S. capital under the current administration, Reuters sources revealed.
Wang's main purpose for visiting the U.S. is his participation in the 2023 APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, taking place in Detroit from Thursday to Friday, where he will engage in talks with Tai. Shu noted that the discussions will focus on U.S.-China relations and shared concerns.
During his visit, Wang plans to echo the message he gave to representatives of U.S. corporations, such as Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Dow, Merck, and Honeywell in Shanghai on Monday. He emphasized, "China will continue to welcome U.S.-funded enterprises to develop in China and achieve win-win results," as reported by the Ministry of Commerce.
These bilateral talks occur amid a backdrop of increasing trade tensions. Last Sunday, China pronounced U.S. chip manufacturer Micron a national security risk, effectively preventing the firm from distributing its memory chips to critical domestic sectors. This move followed a series of actions against American consultancies operating in China.
Wang's diplomatic effort also comes on the heels of the recent Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima, where U.S. President Joe Biden and fellow G7 leaders targeted China over "economic coercion" and expressed intentions to "de-risk" without "decoupling" from the world's second-largest economy.
In response, Shu said, "China hopes the G7 will not abuse trade and investment restrictions while saying that they will not seek to decouple from the country."
Earlier this month, Wang met U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns in Beijing, amid rumors of potential high-level U.S. official visits. Notably, Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed his scheduled trip in February after the U.S. intercepted a Chinese surveillance balloon over sensitive military sites. Blinken, alongside Raimondo and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, has shown interest in a possible future visit to China.