At a meeting in Beijing on Friday, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, smiled warmly at Bill Gates and praised Mr Gates as the “first American friend” he had met this year.
In Beijing, Foreign Minister Antony J. The encounters between Blinken and their Chinese counterparts starting on Sunday are expected to be somewhat colder.
The high-level meetings are aimed at getting US-China relations back on track, and many US business leaders are pushing the Biden administration to try to restore some stability in one of the world’s most important bilateral ties.
But for business leaders, and for officials on both sides, expectations for the meetings appear modest, with two main goals for the talks. One is to restore communication between the governments, which broke down this year when a Chinese surveillance balloon flew over US airspace and Mr Blinken canceled a visit scheduled for February. The second is to prevent further deterioration in the relations between the countries.
There is already evidence of the impact of fractious relationships. Foreign direct investment in China has fallen 18 year low, A 2023 survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China showed that companies still view the Chinese market as a priority, but their willingness to invest there is declining.
“Economic relations have become so bleak that any sign of progress is welcome, though hopes are dim for any kind of breakthrough,” said Jake Colvin, president of the National Foreign Trade Council.
“The hope is that such high-level dialogue for business can begin to inject some certainty into an increasingly volatile and unpredictable trade relationship,” he added.
Still, as one of the world’s largest consumer markets and home to many factories that supply global businesses, China exerts a powerful pull. This year, when it eased its travel restrictions after three years of lockdown amid the pandemic, a parade of CEOs made trips to China, including Mary Barra of General Motors, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase And Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone,
On a visit to China this month, Tesla chief executive and Twitter owner Elon Musk described the US and Chinese economies as “conjoined twins” and said he opposes efforts to split them. Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China in March Praised “Symbiotic” relationship of the company with the nation.
Sam Altman, leader of OpenAI, which makes the ChatGPT chatbot, actually appeared at a conference in Beijing this month, saying that American and Chinese researchers should continue to work together to combat the risks of artificial intelligence.
The tech industry, which has forged lucrative relationships with Chinese manufacturers and consumers, has viewed Washington’s aggressive approach to China warily. While industry groups acknowledge the importance of the steps to protect national security, they have urged the Biden administration to scrutinize its actions carefully.
Wendy Cutler, a former diplomat and trade negotiator who is now vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute, said the United States and China could announce some small steps at the end of the meetings. Governments could agree, she said, to increase the number of flights between their countries or the number of visas issued to foreign visitors.
But both sides will have plenty of grievances, Ms. Cutler said. Chinese officials are likely to complain about US tariffs on goods made in China and restrictions on US firms selling coveted chip technology to China. US officials could highlight China’s deteriorating business climate and its recent move to ban companies that handle critical information from buying microchips made by US company Micron.
“I’m not expecting any breakthroughs, especially on the economic front,” Ms Cutler said, adding that neither side would want to smile.
US officials hope Mr Blinken’s visit will pave the way for greater cooperation, including on issues such as climate change and restructuring the debt burden of developing countries. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Other officials, including Yellen, are considering a trip to China this year, and Mr. Xi and President Biden could meet directly at the Group of 20 meetings in Delhi in September or the Asia-Pacific economic meeting in San Francisco. in November.
In recent months, Biden officials have tried to bridge the rift between the countries by arguing for a more “constructive” relationship. He has echoed European officials in saying that they wish “D-risk and Diversification” Their economic ties with China, not “decoupling”.
But trust between the governments has eroded, and Chinese officials are skeptical about how much the Biden administration can do to restore ties.
Sweeping US restrictions on semiconductor technology that can be shared with China, which were issued in October, continue to vex officials in Beijing. The United States has added dozens of Chinese companies to its sanctions list for aiding the Chinese military and surveillance state, or for circumventing US sanctions against trade with Iran and Russia.
Biden administration officials are weighing further sanctions on China, including a long-delayed order covering some US venture capital investments. And the White House is facing intense pressure from Congress to crack down on national security threats emanating from Beijing.
Not all companies are pushing for better relations. Some with little contact with China have tried to take political advantage in Washington of the growing competition with the country. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has repeatedly raised concerns about Chinese-owned video app TikTok, which has proven to be a formidable competitor to Instagram.
“It’s really a dispute on the degree,” said James Lewis, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “How friendly are you? How confrontational are you?”
Mr Lewis said how aggressively companies are resisting tensions with China is linked to their exposure to the country’s market.
“I think a lot of it has to do with your presence in China,” he said.