US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Sunday said that there are 'legitimate concerns' with Chinese investments in America and underscored the importance of strong action to protect the country's national security.
“We have to be real about those concerns. So to the extent that Chinese investors, buying farmland, buying US businesses, erodes our national security, then we should stop it," Raimondo told CNN.
The remarks come after Raimondo embarked on a four-day visit to China in a bid to revive deteriorating ties between the two largest economies of the world. Raimondo is the first US Commerce Secretary to visit China in years and spent her time to restore communication channels with her Chinese counterparts.
She also sought to convince the Chinese officials that the US does not seek a 'decoupling' from the Chinese economy or stop it from growing. "I spoke with more than 100 business leaders myself in the US across a range of industries. And I asked them, ‘what should I be trying to get done here?’"
Speaking on the export of semiconductors to China, Raimondo said that the US will not compromise on its most sophisticated and powerful chips to China that can be used for its military purposes. "What we are going to do and we will not compromise on is preventing the sale of our most sophisticated, most powerful semiconductors to China, which China wants for its military," said the secretary.
Raimondo's visit to China
Last week, Raimondo rejected an appeal by Chinese leaders to reduce American export controls on technology that can be possibly used for military purposes. However, the US and China have reportedly agreed on setting up new communication channels to address lingering trade disputes followimng a meeting between Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao
The renewed tensions between Washington and Beijing stemmed from US President Joe Biden's executive order to restrict US investment in Chinese companies that are involved in military development. It announced a wide range of export controls that banned Chinese companies from buying advanced chips or equipment without a license.
China accused the US of "using the cover of risk reduction" to carry out decoupling and chain-breaking. Since then, China imposed its own export controls on gallium and germanium, raw materials essential for producing chips, while simultaneously increasing its own trade in the Asian continent.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Commerce Ministry (MOFCOM) said in a statement that during his meeting with Raimondo, Wang raised serious concerns over various US policies aimed towards China, such as semiconductor policies and sanctions on Chinese firms, and appealed on concrete action from Washington.
In Shanghai, Raimondo also urged American businesses to keep investing in China, even though some US firms had called China, the world’s second biggest economy, “uninvestable.” The US Commerce Secretary further pointed out that American companies have complained to her on facing a "whole new level of challenge" in China following an expansion of an anti-spying law and raids on consulting firms.
The economic relationship of the US and China comprises of around $700 million in trade, which makes up for over 50% of the global growth. The Chinese side has also insisted that cooperation between the world's two largest economies is beneficial for their domestic situations as well as developing nations. It is worth mentioning that China is currently facing a deepening economic slump.