The United States is not seeking to sever its economic ties with China – even as Washington moves to protect American technological and military prowess from Beijing, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has said.
Speaking to reporters ahead of a speech Wednesday on the Biden administration’s China policy, Raimondo said, “We’re not looking for decoupling from China. We want to promote trade and investment in areas that do not threaten our core economic and national security interests or compromise human rights values.”
Relations between the world’s two largest economies have cooled over the past decade, in part because the communist government in Beijing has cracked down on dissent in Hong Kong and Muslims in the northwest Xinjiang region.
President Donald Trump has imposed massive taxes on Chinese imports in a dispute over heavy-handed tactics – including the alleged theft of trade secrets – that Beijing has used to challenge America’s technological advantage.
The Biden administration has maintained Trump’s tariffs and intensified a campaign to prevent the Chinese from acquiring sensitive technology that could accelerate its military buildup. Most notable was last month’s decision to block exports of advanced computer chips to China.
The administration has also sought to make the United States more competitive by investing in infrastructure and pumping more than $50 billion into the semiconductor industry.
For years, Raimondo said, the United States “has pursued a policy of engagement with China,” hoping Beijing would open its economy to foreign competition.
“But China took a different path,” she said. “Chinese leaders have made it clear that they do not plan to pursue political and economic reform and opening up. Instead, they pledged to increase the role of the state in Chinese society and economy, limiting the free flow of capital and information. Moreover, they are accelerating their efforts to merge their economic and technological policies with their military ambitions.
The result, she said, was that “interdependence with China introduces significant new risks to our national security.”
But Raimondo rejected the idea that the United States should seek to completely isolate its economy from that of China.
“We have to keep doing business with China,” she said. “Trade with China supports American jobs.”