China says it would welcome visit from US Commerce Secretary

Beijing and US are locked in economic competition with announcements of restrictions

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. AFP
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China on Thursday said it would welcome a visit from US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo after a series of investment restrictions and tariffs imposed by President Joe Biden's administration.

A Chinese Commerce Ministry representative did not offer a date for the visit, but said Beijing and Washington were in "close communication on arrangements", Chinese state media reported.

Ms Raimondo told reporters in July that she intends to travel to China some time this year. Several US media outlets have reported that Ms Raimondo could visit Beijing later this month.

She and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao held talks on trade in Washington in May.

The two countries are locked in economic competition. Mr Biden most recently signed an executive order limiting US investment in China's technology sector that he called a "national security action".

The order, expected to come into effect next year, will prevent US investment from helping accelerate China's military and intelligence systems.

China has announced restrictions of its own by taking aim at materials used for semiconductors.

Beijing has also accused Washington of decoupling the US economy from China's, which Mr Biden and White House officials have refuted. Mr Biden has said he is seeking a "rational relationship" with America's economic rival.

China and the US have sought to ease tension in recent months when relations reached a low point after former House speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan last year and a suspected Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US in February.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and climate adviser John Kerry have all visited China as part of this rapprochement effort.

Updated: August 17, 2023, 2:16 PM