Commerce officials heading to China to lay groundwork for possible Raimondo trip later this year, sources say

Gina Raimondo, US secretary of commerce, speaks throughout an interview in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Photographs

Senior officers from the Division of Commerce might be touring to Beijing and Shanghai subsequent week as a part of an effort to put groundwork for a possible journey by Secretary Gina Raimondo later this 12 months, in line with folks acquainted with the planning.

Elizabeth Financial system, a senior advisor to the secretary on China points, and Scott Tatlock, the deputy assistant secretary for China and Mongolia, will assess whether or not such a gathering between Raimondo and her Chinese language counterparts would produce outcomes to justify the go to.

A spokesperson for the Commerce Division confirmed the journey “to fulfill with U.S. Industrial Service officers, authorities counterparts and trade to debate bilateral commerce and industrial alternatives for U.S. companies.”

However the optics of a possible go to by Raimondo — the previous governor of Rhode Island whose political ambitions are mentioned to not finish with the Commerce job — might be fraught with danger if the go to produces no deliverables, in line with the folks acquainted with the planning. After a latest go to by French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, Beijing agreed to ship 160 Airbus planes, and Airbus agreed to double its manufacturing within the nation.

A go to by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, set for early February, was postponed indefinitely as tensions escalated throughout a Chinese language surveillance balloon’s cross-country journey.

The tensions paused financial discussions between Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her counterparts, which have since resumed. Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby mentioned in late March that the White Home was discussing potential visits by secretaries Yellen and Raimondo to “speak about financial points … holding these traces of communication open continues to be priceless.”

Beijing has missed key benchmarks in a 2020 commerce pact between the international locations, which Raimondo has pledged to implement — together with a promise by China to buy planes made by Airbus rival Boeing.

“China is holding up the acquisition of tens of billions of {dollars} in Boeing airplanes that Chinese language airways have already ordered,” Raimondo instructed reporters in September 2021. “That is a number of American jobs on the road.”

Since then, Commerce has taken an advert hoc method to delicate commerce points. On high-tech exports that might advance China’s navy ambitions, Raimondo has drawn a tough line — increasing restrictions that stop Beijing from buying main semiconductors.

On TikTok, the place assist for a ban is rising on each side of the aisle, Raimondo has taken a extra dovish method. “The politician in me thinks you are gonna actually lose each voter underneath 35, eternally,” she instructed Bloomberg Businessweek. “Nevertheless a lot I hate TikTok — and I do, as a result of I see the habit within the unhealthy s— that it serves youngsters — you realize, that is America.”

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