China’s Liu and US Treasury’s Yellen Hold “Frank” Appeal on Trade

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had a phone call on Tuesday to discuss trade issues, with the two sides highlighting concerns in their relationship as they attempt to chart a new course after the upheaval of the Donald Trump era.

During a video call, the two men had “pragmatic, frank and constructive exchanges on the macroeconomic situation and cooperation in multilateral and bilateral fields,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

Liu said he was concerned about US tariffs and sanctions, as well as his treatment of Chinese companies, the statement said.

Beijing-Washington relations collapsed under former President Trump, who imposed tariffs on Chinese goods worth billions of dollars in 2018, citing trade practices he deemed “unfair” .

After Joe Biden came to power in January, he launched a review of US trade strategy and tariffs initiated by Trump.

But his administration also said that China’s massive government subsidies for domestic companies, intellectual property theft and other factors are creating a very level playing field in trade.

According to a reading of the US Treasury’s appeal, Yellen “frankly raised concerns” at the meeting and both sides acknowledged that “developments in our two economies have important implications for the global economy.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met for the second time with Liu to discuss Chinese business practices.

Last week, China pledged at the World Trade Organization that it would further open up its vast market, with a quick response from Washington that it believed Beijing was showing “no desire to change.”

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