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The United States is not looking to cut economic ties with China — even as Washington moves to shield American technological and military expertise from Beijing, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.
Speaking to reporters ahead of a speech Wednesday on the Biden administration’s China policy, Raimondo said: “We’re not asking 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, as Beijing’s communist government cracked down on dissent against Muslims in Hong Kong and the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
President Donald Trump has imposed heavy taxes on Chinese imports in a dispute over Beijing’s strong-arm tactics — including the alleged theft of trade secrets used to challenge America’s edge in technology.
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 freeze the export of advanced computer chips to China.
The administration has tried to make the United States more competitive by investing in infrastructure and pouring more than $50 billion into the semiconductor industry.
For years, Raimondo said, the United States has “pursued a policy of engagement with China,” hoping that Beijing would open its economy to foreign competition.
“But China has taken a different path,” he said. “China’s leaders have made it very clear that they are not planning political and economic reform and opening up. Instead, they are committed to increasing the role of the state in Chinese society and economy, restricting the free flow of capital and information. Moreover, they are accelerating their efforts to combine their economic and technological policies with their military ambitions.”
The result, he said, “is that interdependence with China introduces significant new risks to our national security.”
But Raimondo rejected the idea that the United States should try to completely isolate its economy from China.
“We have to continue doing business with China,” he said. “Trade with China Supports American Jobs.”