WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Following a meeting in Beijing Monday, commerce leaders promised to improve communication between the United States and China, a signal that tensions could be easing.
“We are delivering,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said after a meeting with China’s commerce minister. “I know there are challenges. As we address those challenges, more communication of the government-to-government level, business-to-business level is critical to helping resolve those challenges.”
Raimondo met with her Chinese counterpart for four hours Monday. They agreed to create a working group to talk through ongoing disputes, chief among them the future of semiconductor exports and getting the Chinese government to pull back from attacks on U.S. businesses in China.
“We have made huge progress just today,” Raimondo said.
Strained U.S.-China relations only worsened following incident like the discovery a Chinese spy balloon over the U.S. earlier this year.
Bill Reinsch, who helped guide U.S. trade relations with China under President Bill Clinton, said the dialogue is a positive sign.
“We weren’t talking and now we are,” Reinsch, now of the Center for Strategic and International Studies policy research group, said. “I’m hopeful this will be a return to a period where we had at least a relationship where we could talk to each other … and complain honestly about things that were going on.”
But he added that the communication must be followed by action from China.
“Are they going to continue to use their vague national security law to attack Western companies and arrest executives?” he said.
Raimondo’s talks were Chinese officials were expected to continue Tuesday.