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Moves to ‘politicize’ trade will prove ‘disastrous’ for global economy, China warns US

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo (L) and Chinese Premier Li Qiang have a light moment during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on August 29, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

China has warned the United States against moves to “politicize” trade issues, saying such measures will prove “disastrous” for the global economy.

In an attempt to mend strained trade ties between the world's two biggest economies despite tensions over multiple issues, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is currently on a four-day visit to the Asian country.

During a meeting between Raimondo and Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Tuesday, China’s top official, however, lay into Washington’s trade curbs against Beijing.

The US claims that such measures are necessary for its national security while China insists that they are meant to clip its economic rise.

“Politicizing economic and trade issues and overstretching the concept of security will... seriously affect bilateral relations and mutual trust,” China's official Xinhua news agency quoted Li as telling his the American side.

They “also undermine the interests of enterprises and people of the two countries, and will have a disastrous impact on the global economy”, Li added.

Raimondo’s trip to China is the latest by a senior US official in recent months as Washington tries to settle tensions with Beijing, as the US-China relations have dropped to some of their lowest levels in decades, with US trade curbs near the top of the list of disagreements.

The development came days after US President Joe Biden issued an executive order aimed at restricting certain US investments in sensitive high-tech areas in China, prompting Beijing to denounce it as being “anti-globalization.”

The fresh restrictions, expected to be implemented in 2014, target sectors such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

This is while Li on Tuesday urged Washington to change tack, stressing that “the two sides should strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, reduce friction and confrontation, and jointly promote world economic recovery and cope with global challenges.”

Raimondo, for her part, stressed the importance of open communication, telling Li that the US wants to “work with you as two global powers to do what is right for all of humanity.”

“The world is expecting us to step up together to solve these problems,” she claimed, adding, “We seek to maintain our $700 billion commercial relationship with China, and we hope that that relationship can provide stability for the overall relationship.”

On Wednesday, the US commerce secretary will visit China's economic powerhouse, Shanghai, where she will meet with local officials before leaving the country.

Raimondo and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reached an agreement to establish a working group aimed at easing trade tensions.

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