GT Voice: If US wants to repair economic ties with China, here is how
Published: Jul 05, 2023 11:12 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is scheduled to visit China this week. It would be a chance for China to discuss a number of issues that require US sincerity and rectification.

First, the elimination of US tariffs on more than $300 billion worth of Chinese goods is a top priority to be addressed between the two sides. Various figures and facts have already showed that tariffs are not good for China, the US or the world. With the damage adding up for both sides, removal of US tariffs are both urgently needed and justified.

Second, withdraw the "301 investigation" against China and roll back unreasonable accusations and sanctions against Chinese companies. The "301 investigation" is part of the US trade war against China, which is typical unilateralism, protectionism and trade bullying based on groundless slander against China's trade practices.

Third, remove Chinese companies from its Entity List. 

Fourth, relax export restrictions on high-tech exports to China. 

Fifth, stop pressuring other countries and businesses from cooperating with China in high-tech fields. 

Sixth, ensure the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies operating in the US. 

Indeed, expectations about any breakthroughs are low right now probably because the US hasn't shown any sign in addressing China's concerns.

A Reuters report, citing US officials, said on Wednesday that Yellen will push to open new lines of communication and coordination on economic matters.

There is no denying that the stability of China-US economic and trade relations is of great significance to whether the global economy will recover growth momentum amid an economic downturn, and communication could help in this regard. But without any major change to the Biden administration's overall hardline approach toward China, it is highly questionable how Yellen's reported pursuit of so-called communication will help push bilateral economic relations back to the right track.

The reason why such doubts seem to have overwhelmed optimism over the positive signal the Yellen's visit has issued may be because there is no sign from the Biden administration that it will change course on tough economic and trade policy with China. Even when Yellen and other US officials have indicated their plans to visit China, the US government has been stepping up crackdowns targeting China on the trade and economic front. 

For instance, the Biden administration is preparing to restrict Chinese companies' access to US cloud-computing services, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Last week, news surfaced that the US is preparing an executive order to control venture-capital and private-equity investment in China and other countries the US government considers adversaries.

Yet, China-US economic and trade relations are not something that can be decided by the US alone, otherwise there would not be Yellen's visit aimed at seeking communication. The ultimate purpose of communication is to improve economic relationship and expand cooperation, not anything else.

Fundamentally speaking, if Yellen's visit simply shows the gesture of being engaged in talking without any substantial change, it will be another blow to bilateral economic relations given the already low mutual trust.

In this sense, the US needs to take the current window opportunity and make practical actions to substantially push China-US relations back to the right track, and the best way to do so is to address China's concerns and grievances on issues relating to tensions in bilateral economic ties. 

It is believed that as long as the US is sincere about relationship improvement, there must be something it can do with the above-mentioned six issues.