Trade officials head to China ahead of potential Raimondo trip, sources say


Gina Raimondo, U.S. Commerce Secretary, speaks during an interview in Washington, DC, U.S., Thursday, March 2, 2023.

Andre Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Senior Commerce Department officials will travel to Beijing and Shanghai next week as part of an effort to set the stage for Secretary Gina Raimondo’s potential trip later this year, according to people familiar with the planning. .

Elizabeth Economy, the secretary’s senior adviser on China issues, and Scott Tatlock, deputy assistant secretary for China and Mongolia, will assess whether such a meeting between Raimondo and his Chinese counterparts would produce results warranting the visit.

A Commerce Department spokesperson confirmed the trip “to meet with U.S. Commercial Service officials, government counterparts and industry to discuss bilateral trade and business opportunities for U.S. businesses.”

But the optics of a potential visit from Raimondo — the former governor of Rhode Island whose political ambitions don’t end with the Commerce job — could be fraught with risk if the visit produces no deliverables, according to people familiar. with planning. After a recent visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, Beijing agreed to deliver 160 Airbus planes, and Airbus agreed to double its production in the country.

A visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, scheduled for early February, has been postponed indefinitely due to escalating tensions during a Chinese surveillance balloon’s cross-country trip.

The tensions halted economic talks between Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her counterparts, which have since resumed. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in late March that the White House was discussing possible visits by Secretaries Yellen and Raimondo to “talk about economic matters … keeping those lines of communication open is always valuable.”

Beijing has missed key landmarks in a 2020 trade pact between the countries, which Raimondo has pledged to enforce – including a promise from China to buy planes manufactured by Airbus rival Boeing.

“China is delaying the purchase of tens of billions of dollars of Boeing planes that Chinese airlines have already ordered,” Raimondo told reporters in September 2021. “That’s a lot of American jobs at stake.”

Since then, the Commerce Department has taken an ad hoc approach to sensitive trade issues. On high-tech exports that could advance China’s military ambitions, Raimondo drew a hard line – expanding restrictions that prevent Beijing from acquiring cutting-edge semiconductors.

On TikTok, where support for a ban is growing on both sides of the aisle, Raimondo has taken a more accommodating approach. “The politician in me thinks you’re literally going to lose every voter under 35, forever,” she said. Bloomberg Business Week. “Even though I hate TikTok — and I do, because I see the addiction in the bad s—that it serves kids — you know, it’s America.”

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top