WASHINGTON — Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will travel to Beijing and Shanghai for a series of meetings next week, becoming the latest Biden administration official to visit China as the United States seeks to stabilize the relationship between the countries.
Raimondo will meet with senior Chinese officials and American business leaders between Aug. 27 and Aug. 30, the Department of Commerce said in an announcement Tuesday. The department said Raimondo was looking forward to “constructive discussions on issues relating to the US-China commercial relationship, challenges faced by US businesses, and areas for potential cooperation.”
The visit comes during a period of tensions between Washington and Beijing, and amid extreme volatility in the Chinese economy, which is struggling with stalling growth, a real estate crisis, and lackluster consumer confidence.
The Biden administration has dispatched a series of officials to China in recent months in an attempt to restore some stability to the bilateral relationship, after the flight of a Chinese surveillance balloon across the United States early this year left ties badly frayed.
Since June, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and the presidential climate envoy, John Kerry, have made trips to meet with counterparts in China. The meetings could potentially pave the way for a visit by China’s leader, Xi Jinping, to the United States this fall.
As the Cabinet official most responsible for promoting the interests of American businesses abroad, Raimondo is likely to try to expand some commercial relations, and express concerns about a recent crackdown on firms with foreign ties in China. A Chinese statistics agency announced that it has imposed fines of nearly $1.5 million on the Mintz Group, an American corporate investigations firm that had been raided in March, after finding that the company had engaged in “foreign-related” surveys without official permission.
The meetings are also expected to touch on the technology restrictions that Raimondo’s department oversees, which have prohibited companies in fields like artificial intelligence and quantum computing from sharing their most advanced technology with China. China has strongly objected to those restrictions.
Last month, US officials said Chinese hackers, likely affiliated with the country’s military or spy services, had obtained Raimondo’s emails, in a hack that was discovered in June by State Department cybersecurity experts. The hackers had penetrated email accounts belonging to State and Commerce department officials, the US officials said.