Chinese Ambassador has ‘constructive’ talks with US Treasury official; Washington urged to show ‘more sincerity’ before further cooperation
Published: Jun 04, 2023 09:31 PM
China US

China US

Chinese Ambassador Xie Feng met with Under Secretary of the US Treasury Jay Shambaugh on Friday, during which the two had a "candid, in-depth and constructive" exchange of views on issues of mutual interest, read a statement on the official website of the Chinese Embassy to the US on Saturday.

Observers said that the meeting sends a positive signal that economic and trade exchanges are moving ahead following talks among leading commerce officials, while remaining cautious about immediate outcomes.

Xie emphasized the importance for the two countries to strengthen dialogue, manage differences and remove obstacles. The two sides have agreed to maintain communication on advancing mutually beneficial cooperation in bilateral and multilateral fields.

The US Treasury described the meeting with Xie as "candid and constructive," saying it was part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage the bilateral relationship, according a statement.

Shambaugh stressed the importance of the two largest economies closely communicating on "global macroeconomic and financial issues and working together on global challenges."

"The meeting sends a clear signal that economic and trade communications between the two nations continue following the high-level contact previously," said Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, who believes it is a "positive sign" for bilateral ties.

The use of word "candid" means that both sides raised their own concerns, while "constructive" proves that the concerns or demands from both sides may have been resolved to a certain extent, Gao told the Global Times on Sunday.

In late May, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met separately with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in the US, and held "candid" discussions on trade and economic issues.

The latest sit-down meeting marks a fresh contact of China with a US Treasury official, a sector where the US may eagerly seek China's cooperation, Zhang Hong, an independent observer of the Chinese economy, told the Global Times on Sunday.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen previously expressed hopes for a visit to China this year to meet with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng.

"The daunting economic problems faced by the US have added to the urgency of China's cooperation," Zhang said.

The US Senate passed a bipartisan budget agreement on Thursday (local time) to raise the debt ceiling, which may have temporarily addressed its debt problems, but economists are warning that persisting high inflation and the Fed's aggressive rates may trigger a recession in the long run.

Despite the urgency, Chinese experts still remained cautious over any immediate outcomes. "The US' goodwill is not enough to see any pragmatic progress at this stage," Gao said, noting that the punitive tariffs and sanctions on Chinese firms still pose barriers for improving China-US ties.

Washington's semiconductor policy, including the CHIPS and Science Act, and its export controls are major economic and trade concerns of China, and were also the key issues raised by Commerce Minister Wang Wentao in talks with leading US commerce officials, Shu Jueting, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce, told a regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday.

It is hoped that the US will work with China to manage differences under the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation, and maintain and deepen bilateral practical economic cooperation, so as to benefit the two countries and their peoples and promote the development of the world economy, Shu said.

Economic and trade relations still serve as a ballast in China-US relations although the two still see rising tensions in other areas, Zhang said, cautioning that the US has to show more sincerity if it would like to move another step forward.  

From January to April, China-US trade totaled $217.924 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 11.2 percent. China's exports to the US were $158.251 billion, down 14.3 percent, and China's imports from the US stood at $59.673 billion, down 2 percent.