Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen on Friday criticized the Chinese government’s harsh treatment of companies with foreign ties and its recent decision to impose export controls on some vital minerals, suggesting such actions are part of Biden’s efforts to make American manufacturers less dependent on China. Justifies the efforts of the administration.
Ms Yellen vehemently defended American industry on the first day of their meetings in Beijing during a trip crucial to easing tensions between the United States and China. His comments to a group of executives from American businesses operating in China underscored the challenges facing the world’s two largest economies as they seek to move beyond their deep differences.
“During meetings with my counterparts, I have been voicing concerns I have heard from the US business community – including China’s use of non-market instruments such as subsidies extended to its state-owned enterprises and domestic firms, as well include barriers to market access. foreign firms,” Ms. Yellen told business leaders at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in China. “I am particularly appalled by the punitive actions taken against American companies in recent months. Worried.” Representatives from Boeing, Bank of America and agriculture giant Cargill were in attendance.
In March, Chinese authorities detained five Chinese nationals working in Beijing for the Mintz Group, an American consulting company with 18 offices around the world, and closed a branch. The following month, authorities questioned employees at the Shanghai office of Bain & Company, an American management consulting firm.
American businesses operating in China came under scrutiny following restrictions that the Biden administration imposed on access to China’s vital semiconductor-making technology and equipment.
The Biden administration is preparing to impose additional restrictions on US technology trade with China, including on advanced chips and potential limits on US investment in the country. In an effort to close a loophole in earlier restrictions on China’s access to advanced chips used for artificial intelligence, the administration is also preparing to restrict Chinese companies’ access to US cloud computing services.
The tit for tat continued this week when Beijing retaliated against the Biden administration’s limits on semiconductors by announcing it would restrict exports of some key minerals used in the production of some chips.
A Chinese finance ministry official expressed hope on Friday that meetings with Ms Yellen would improve economic ties and suggested the United States needed to step in to do the same. The official said that no country benefits from “isolating” and disrupting supply chains.
Ms Yellen said on Friday she was “concerned” by China’s decision to impose export controls.
“We are still evaluating the impact of these actions, but they remind us of the importance of building resilient and diverse supply chains,” Ms. Yellen said. He suggested that additional responses may emerge from the United States to ensure that American businesses and workers are treated fairly.
“I will always advocate for your interests and work to ensure that there is equal opportunity,” Ms. Yellen said. “This includes coordinating with our allies to respond to China’s unfair economic practices.”
Businesses are also worried about China’s increasingly tight national security laws, including a tough anti-espionage law that went into effect on Saturday. The US State Department issued a warning this week advising Americans to reconsider travel to China because of the potential for wrongful detention.
Chamber President Michael Hart said American companies are trying to play a constructive role in the economic relationship between the United States and China.
“Regardless of what happens at the political level, we are trying to engage with our Chinese counterparts in employing, manufacturing, producing, buying, selling, paying our taxes, and doing it all in a way that reflects our values. ” Mr. Hart, who sat next to Ms. Yellen, said. “And we believe it will benefit the United States and China as well.”
The Treasury Secretary plans to raise these issues during a series of meetings with top Chinese officials over the next two days.
In addition to business leaders, Ms. Yellen was also meeting on Friday with former Vice Premier of China Liu He and outgoing governor of the People’s Bank of China, Yi Gang. A Treasury Department official said Ms Yellen discussed the outlook for the economy with her former counterparts in an informal discussion that lasted more than an hour.
Later on Friday afternoon, she will meet with Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People.
Claire Fu Contributed reporting.