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Janet Yellen highlights record US-China trade and talks ‘fair rules’ during Beijing visit


Janet Yellen highlighted record bilateral trade between the US and China and also spoke about a “fair set of rules” during her four-day China visit.

The US Treasury secretary’s visit is Washington’s latest attempt to repair ties as the two superpowers have faced challenges in their relationship and have frequently been at loggerheads with each other.

During her meetings with top Chinese officials on Saturday, Yellen, 76, told vice-premier He Lifeng that a 2022 record in bilateral US-Chinese trade showed there is “ample room for our firms to engage in trade and investment”. Recent trade data accessed by Reuters indicated that two-way trade between the two countries hit a record $690bn (£537bn) last year.

Ms Yellen also suggested that the US and China need to communicate better.

“Amid a complicated global economic outlook, there is a pressing need for the two largest economies to closely communicate and exchange views on our responses to various challenges,” she said, adding that such an effort would “help both sides more fully understand the global economic outlook and make better decisions to strengthen our economies”.

During the meetings, Ms Yellen expressed the desire of Washington to ensure healthy competition with a “fair set of rules” that would benefit both China and the US over time.

Speaking to a group of female economists on Saturday, Ms Yellen said she was “in Beijing at this critical time because, for all the disagreements between our nations, President Biden and I believe it is in the best interests of our peoples to put our relationship on a better track and to maintain open and honest lines of communication”.

She continued: “I strongly believe that the relationship between our two countries is rooted in the solid ties between the American and Chinese people. It is important that we keep nurturing and deepening these ties, especially as China reopens after three years of Covid lockdowns.”

US ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, centre, listens as the Treasury secretary speaks at a climate finance roundtable discussion at the US embassy in Beijing on Saturday

(AP)

Moving forward, Ms Yellen expressed that the US would continue to communicate directly its concerns about specific economic practices and would take targeted actions to protect its national security.

She urged China not to allow any disagreements to “lead to misunderstandings, particularly those stemming from a lack of communication, which can unnecessarily worsen our bilateral economic and financial relationship”.

While the US and China have mutual political, economic and security interests, there are also unresolved concerns, with differing views on matters such as the political status of Taiwan and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Ms Yellen also called for the world’s two largest economies to combat the “existential threat” of the climate crisis.

“Continued US-China cooperation on climate finance is critical,” Ms Yellen said in a prepared text at a climate roundtable in Beijing. “As the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases and the largest investors in renewable energy, we have both a joint responsibility and ability to lead the way.”

Additional reporting by agencies


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