US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has expressed concern over the deteriorating business conditions in China, stating that the patience of US executives is “wearing thin.” In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Raimondo criticized China’s treatment of American businesses, emphasizing that a predictable and fair business environment is crucial for attracting and retaining American investment. Raimondo’s remarks come after her recent trip to Beijing, where she engaged in talks with Chinese officials to address the strained Sino-US economic relations.
While acknowledging some progress in the discussions, Raimondo highlighted that trust cannot be established until China follows through on its commitments to address Washington’s concerns. “We want a large and stable economic relationship with them, but they have to play by the rules,” she asserted. Emphasizing that the US will always act in its own self-interest, Raimondo emphasized the need for China to create a level playing field for American companies.
Raimondo is the first US commerce secretary to hold talks in China in five years. Her visit to Beijing aims to address the increasingly hostile business environment that US corporations have been facing in the country. In recent months, American companies have been subjected to unfounded raids and fines, prompting them to consider doing business in other countries.
During her talks with Chinese leaders, Raimondo did not hesitate to bring up various concerns. For instance, she mentioned that her email was hacked before her visit, stressing the difficulty of building trust when such actions occur. While Chinese officials denied knowledge and intention behind the hacking, Raimondo believed it was necessary to address the issue and convey the importance of trust-building.
Raimondo underscored the fierce competition between the US and China at every level. However, she emphasized the need to manage this rivalry to avoid conflict. Contrary to China’s appeal, Raimondo asserted that the US would not ease export controls on advanced semiconductors with potential military applications. She clarified that while the US would not sell the most sophisticated American chips to China for military purposes, they would continue to sell billions of dollars worth of chips that do not fall into the cutting-edge category.
The Biden administration is determined to repair the fractured relationship between the US and China caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and rising tensions over Taiwan. Raimondo’s visit to China is part of these efforts, with the focus on addressing the concerns of American businesses and creating a more favorable environment for American investment.
The US commerce secretary’s firm stance on China’s business practices reflects the growing frustration among US executives. As negotiations continue, both countries need to demonstrate their commitment to resolving these issues and fostering a stable and mutually beneficial economic relationship.