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U.S.-China News Brief
July 8, 2022

Trade Talks

The Biden administration is currently discussing plans for the ongoing Trump administration tariffs on Chinese goods. Biden was set to meet with advisors on Friday, but told reporters a decision about cutting tariffs still has not been made.

On July 5, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He held a virtual meeting. According to the U.S. readout, “they discussed macroeconomic and financial developments in the United States and China, the global economic outlook amid rising commodity prices and food security challenges.” Yellen also raised concerns about Ukraine and China’s economic practices.

A Chinese spokesperson said of the meeting, “The two sides agreed that as the world economy is facing severe challenges, it is of great significance for China and the U.S. to strengthen macro-policy communication and coordination. Jointly maintaining the stability of the global industrial and supply chains is in the interest of both countries and the whole world. The Chinese side expressed its concern about issues including the lifting of additional tariffs on China and sanctions by the U.S. side, and fair treatment of Chinese enterprises.”

G20 Summit

Leaders from the G20 countries have gathered in Bali. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are expected to meet while in Indonesia. Ukraine and economic relations are likely both going to be major topics of discussion.

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Kritenbrink said, “Our top priority [for the meeting]…is to underscore our commitment to intense diplomacy and maintaining open lines of communication with the People’s Republic of China. We have often stated that our goal is to manage responsibly the intense competition between the United States and the PRC. So I would expect that in the course of that meeting we’ll be able to discuss having guardrails, so to speak, on the relationship so that our competition does not spill over into miscalculation or confrontation.”

In response to Kritenbrink’s remarks, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “The U.S. keeps calling for ‘guardrails’. The ‘guardrails’ for China-U.S. relationship already exists — the three China-U.S. joint communiqués. China-U.S. relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. As the world’s top two economies and permanent members of the UN Security Council, the two countries must make the relationship work and not mess it up. The two sides need to uphold the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation and bring the bilateral relations back to the track of sound and steady development.”

Both leaders have already held other high-profile meetings. Wang Yi met with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong in what she called “a first step towards stabilizing the relationship.” Wang also notably met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who other representatives, including Blinken, likely plan to avoid during the summit.

Wang Yi reportedly praised their bilateral relationship, saying, “Under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, China and Russia have thwarted disturbances, maintained normal exchanges and pushed forward cooperation in various fields in an orderly manner, showing the strong resilience and strategic determination in bilateral ties.”

Blinken met with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Park Jin. They discussed China, North Korea, and “efforts to enhance trilateral cooperation across the Indo-Pacific and around the world in support of [their] shared values and desire for regional peace, stability, and prosperity.”

Blinken is also continuing dialogue with countries who met last week with President Biden at the NATO Summit in Madrid. After the summit, the leaders released a new Strategic Concept, which had last been updated in 2010. For the first time, China is listed as a joint NATO concern. It says, “The People’s Republic of China’s stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values.”

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian gave a strong denouncement of NATO’s policies during a press conference earlier this week. He said, “The history of NATO is one of creating conflicts and waging wars…. Facts have proven that it is not China that poses a systemic challenge to NATO, but NATO that brings a looming “systemic challenge” to world peace and security.” He continued, “the U.S.’s so-called “rules-based international order” is actually a bunch of rules made by a handful of countries to serve the selfish interests of the U.S. in seeking hegemony.”