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By Joe Cash
BEIJING (Reuters) -China is looking forward to in-depth discussions with the United States on resolving economic and trade issues when its commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, visits next week, China's commerce ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.
Raimondo is due in Beijing and Shanghai for talks with government officials and U.S. business leaders, marking the latest in a recent series of high-level visits aimed at halting a slide in relations between the world's two biggest economies.
"We have noted that China and the U.S. have encountered some difficulties and challenges in bilateral trade and investment, which are related to the various trade protection measures adopted by the U.S. side," the ministry spokesperson, Shu Jueting, said.
"China will continue to raise relevant economic and trade concerns with the U.S. and strive to create a fair and stable economic and trade environment," she said.
Two way trade hit a record $690 billion last year as U.S. demand for Chinese consumer goods rose, as did China's demand for U.S. farm products and energy, although analysts have identified inflation as primarily responsible for this figure.
This year got off to a significantly slower pace, however, with two-way trade flows through June down $67.6 billion, or 19.6%, from the first six months of 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
U.S. officials have said Raimondo will carry the message that the United States is not seeking to decouple from China but it will protect its national security.
Raimondo last met her Chinese counterpart, Wang Wentao, in May in Washington, when they traded barbs on trade, investment and export policies.
(Reporting by Joe Cash and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Robert Birsel)