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U.S. and Chinese officials will begin a new dialogue on export controls on Tuesday, an agreement reached during Washington Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s visit to Beijing to restore ties between the world’s largest economies.

Washington described the talks between administration officials on the “exchange of information on export control enforcement” as “a platform to reduce misunderstandings about U.S. national security policy.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce said the talks would help “exchange information on export controls in accordance with their respective laws”.

Raimondo will hold further high-level meetings with Chinese government officials in Beijing on Tuesday. The U.S. Commerce Secretary kicked off a four-day visit to China, following visits to China by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

U.S. officials have said their Chinese counterparts have been willing to hold talks with Raimondo. China, struggling to revive its economy after last year’s pandemic lockdown, is looking to revive foreign investment amid a severe housing downturn and falling exports.

The United States sees the exchange of information on export control enforcement as a forum for improving transparency on new rules restricting trade and investment in economically sensitive areas of China, rather than policy negotiations, a senior U.S. commerce official said.

The goal of the move, the official said, is to encourage compliance with the new rules by providing more information on their implementation, thereby reducing the need for punitive actions and enforcement.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced an executive order this month banning some U.S. investments in China’s quantum computing, advanced chips and artificial intelligence to prevent the Chinese military from accessing U.S. technology and capital.

The new executive order, which will take effect next year, will require companies to notify the U.S. government of other investments in the three Chinese industries.

China announced restrictions on the export of gallium and germanium, two metals used in chip manufacturing, and the use of Micron Technology products in its critical infrastructure.

Beijing also announced restrictions on the export of drones and drone parts, citing their potential military use. The restrictions could affect both sides of the Ukraine war.

Talks under the exchange of information on export controls will be conducted by administration officials, the top U.S. commerce official said.

China’s Ministry of Commerce in Beijing said Commerce Minister Wang Wentao expressed concerns to Raimondo during the meeting about U.S. tariffs, semiconductor policies, investment restrictions, “discriminatory subsidies” and sanctions against Chinese companies.

Wang Yi said that “excessive generalization of national security is not conducive to normal economic and trade exchanges”.

The exchange of export control information is one of several new mechanisms agreed upon in the dialogue between the two sides. Other topics include a working group on commercial issues to meet for the first time in the United States next year, as well as technical discussions on protecting trade secrets and business information in the licensing process.

On Tuesday morning, Raimondo met with Hu Heping, the Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism. One of the aims of her trip is to rebuild personal relationships that have been broken in recent years by China’s restrictions on visas to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Raimondo also agreed to meet with China’s commerce minister at least once a year. “We need more channels of communication. Some CEOs have told me that they desperately need more communication,” Raimondo said at a gathering of U.S. business leaders in Beijing on Monday night, explaining her rationale for the new mechanism.


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