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US and China hold more trade talks despite ongoing tensions

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Joe Biden’s top trade official and China’s commerce minister have held talks on economic and trade disputes, in the latest signs of tentative efforts to stabilize ties between the two superpowers.

US Trade Representative Catherine Tai meets with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Detroit on Friday. He raised concerns about Beijing’s actions against US companies as well as its “non-market” approach to the economy and trade policy, according to a statement from his office.

According to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Wang spoke about Chinese concerns over Taiwan, Trump-era tariffs on US companies from China and Biden’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework – a trade deal that excludes China and includes infrastructure Focuses on infrastructure, supply chain resilience and clean. energy.

The meeting came five days after the US President predicted an imminent “thaw” in relations at the end of the G7 summit. It also came a day after Wang held talks with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the first visit by a senior Chinese official to the US capital since 2020.

After Friday’s meeting, both sides stressed the need to keep channels of communication open.

Earlier in May, China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, met US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Vienna for talks in an effort to stabilize relations between the countries.

Analysts are now hedging calls for Washington and Beijing to capitalize on a rare window of opportunity for high-level bilateral discussions.

That includes the prospect of a new round of climate change talks between John Kerry and Xi Zhenhua, climate envoys for the world’s two biggest economies, who previously pledged joint action on climate change despite strained ties. There are also hopes that Xi and Biden may meet during the APEC Leaders Summit in the US in November.

Still, US-China relations are at their lowest point in decades, with efforts to stabilize diplomatic activity struggling to get off the ground, both sides grappling with new restrictions on access to technology as well as Xi facing Vladimir Putin. clashing with the support of Because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

China last week ordered its infrastructure companies to stop buying from US chip maker Micron, just hours after the G7 issued harsh criticism of Beijing. On Wednesday, Xi met Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Beijing and called for deepening trade, economic and energy ties with Russia while easing Western pressure to reduce his support for Putin.

Also on Friday, the Justice Department dropped charges against two Los Angeles residents for bribery and participating in a state-directed scheme targeting US-based practitioners of Falun Gong, an illegal religious movement in China.

“The Department of Justice continues to expose the Chinese government’s brazen efforts to perpetrate international repression, this time through attempted bribery,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.

Additional reporting by James Politi in Washington and Meiqi Ding in Beijing