U.S. Secretary of Commerce Raimondo’s recent visit to China in late August was “part of ongoing efforts to deliver on President Biden’s directive following his meeting with President Xi in November 2022 to deepen bilateral discussions.” (Commerce Press Release, Aug. 28, 2023.)  Throughout the meetings, the Commerce Secretary sought to reinforce U.S. economic interests in China, but also reiterated the Administration’s “small yard, high fence” approach that narrowly restricts sensitive technologies relevant to U.S. national security interests or human rights. 

During August 28, 2023, meetings, the Secretary of Commerce agreed with the Chinese Minister of Commerce to establish the following working groups and information exchanges as part of the effort to deepen bilateral discussions:

  • A commercial issues working group, “involving U.S. and PRC government officials and private sector representatives to seek solutions on trade and investment issues and to advance U.S. commercial interests in China,” to meet twice annually, with the U.S. hosting the first meeting in early 2024.
  • An export control enforcement information exchange, to “reduce misunderstanding of U.S. national security policies,” with the meeting having occurred “at the Assistant Secretary level at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing on Tuesday, August 29.”  According to Reuters reporting, Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matt Axelrod attended this meeting. 
  • To “convene” technical discussions with subject matter experts “regarding strengthening the protection of trade secrets and confidential business information during administrative licensing proceedings.”
  • Regularly Secretary-Minister level communication “about commercial and economic issues and to meet in-person at least once annually.”

In a later August 29 meeting with Chinese Vice Premier, the Secretary further advocated for a “level playing field for U.S. companies and workers” in China and raised concerns about the “PRC subsidization of industry, and underdeveloped intellectual property protections.” (Commerce Press Release, Aug. 29.)

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