| 2 October 2023, Monday |

US rejects Chinese request for easing controls on technology exports

Gina Raimondo, the US Commerce Secretary, revealed that on Tuesday (August 29), she declined a Chinese request to ease US export restrictions on technologies that could potentially be utilized for military purposes. Nevertheless, she mentioned that both governments have reached an agreement to convene a gathering of experts aimed at addressing disagreements related to safeguarding trade secrets.
During her Beijing visit to revive frosty relations, Raimondo said that she spoke with Chinese Premier Li Qiang and conveyed complaints to other officials. She said conditions for foreign companies are getting worse following an expansion of an anti-spying law and raids on consulting firms.

High level US officials have been visiting China in past three months in bid to restore relations between the two countries which are at their lowest in decades. The disputes range from those in the field of technology, security and also related to Taiwan.
One of the main complaints from China is curbs on access to processor chips and other US tech. The restrictions have been imposed on security grounds. The curbs are threatening to affect Chinese Communist Party’s ambition to develop artificial intelligence and other allied indutries.

The restrictions have hampered Huawei’s smartphone business. Huawei is China’s first global tech brand.

“Their asks were to reduce export controls on technology” with possible military uses and to retract an order by President Joe Biden that restricts U.S. investment in Chinese companies that might be involved in military development, Raimondo said.

“Of course, I said no,” Raimondo said. “We don’t negotiate on matters of national security.”

The US and China agreed on Monday to exchange information about US export curbs. Raimondo said US hopes this “will increase compliance”.

Meanwhile, the two governments agreed to have experts meet to “start to resolve trade secrets issues,” Raimondo said.

“That is one of the big things I hear constantly from business, protection of trade secrets,” she told reporters.

Raimondo also met Premier Li who made an appeal for “concrete actions” by the US to improve relations between the two countries. This was seen as pressure for changes in US policies in variety of areas of conflicting stands.

“We do hope that the US side will work in the same direction as the Chinese side, show sincerity and take concrete actions,” Li said.

The American Embassy said earlier that Raimondo-Li meeting would be a 10-minute “courtesy call”. But the meet lasted one hour and 15 minutes.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government is trying to revive investor interest in China and reassure foreign companies as part of efforts to reverse an economic slump. Raimondo said, however, she didn’t discuss the Chinese economy during her meetings and didn’t get the sense her Chinese counterparts were motivated by the downturn.

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