China’s overseas minister calls on the US to elevate tariff sanctions

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at a press conference after he restored diplomatic relations with Kiribati on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States on September 27, 2019.

Mark Kauzlarich | Reuters

BEIJING – China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday called on the new US administration to stop “suppressing” Chinese tech companies as he set the terms for future US-China cooperation.

Citing national security concerns, former US President Donald Trump has sanctioned dozens of Chinese companies over the past three years.

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is one of the most famous companies to have suffered from these orders. Due to the sanctions, it fell to sixth place from the world’s leading smartphone provider last year.

China wants the US to lift tariffs and sanctions against companies and “abandon the irrational suppression of technological advances in China in order to create the necessary conditions for China-US cooperation,” Wang said, according to an official English translation from the State Department.

Wang also called on the US to support international Chinese students and lift restrictions on cultural groups and media in America. He spoke at a forum in Beijing on the subject of “Getting China-US Relations back on track”.

Tensions between the two countries increased under the Trump administration, which sought to use levies and blacklists to address longstanding business complaints about China’s lack of intellectual property protection, requirements for forced technology transfer, and the state’s dominance in markets.

Although it remains unclear what exact action US President Joe Biden might take, he has maintained a firm tone since taking office about a month ago.

Biden told European allies in a speech on Friday that “we need to prepare for long-term strategic competition with China”.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that Trump-era tariffs would remain in place and that any changes would depend on China’s compliance with trade deals.

Political red lines and areas for cooperation

Biden is expected to focus more on human rights issues such as Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

Wang reiterated on Monday that these regions are part of China’s “internal affairs” and that relations with the US can only improve if Beijing’s position is respected.

Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, also said Monday that Beijing and Washington need to define the boundaries of their foreign policy, noting that China’s red line includes Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet, according to Reuters.

The heads of state and government in both countries are still open to cooperation in a number of areas, such as reducing CO2 emissions.

Wang said the two nations could work together to fight the coronavirus pandemic and help the global economy recover, stressing that Beijing continues to support American companies in China.

Analysis released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week found that if the U.S. sold half of its direct investment in China, American investors would lose $ 25 billion in capital gains annually. The report called for targeted rather than comprehensive policy action against China.

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