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Days after wrapping up her high-stakes visit to China, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has warned Beijing that the patience of US businesses was “wearing thin” in the face of an “unpredictable” regulatory environment.
“China is making it more difficult,” Raimondo told CBS’s Face the Nation in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“I was very clear with China – patience is wearing thin among American business. They need and deserve a predictable environment and a level playing field. And hopefully China will heed that message so we can have a stable growing commercial relationship.”
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Speaking to CNN in another interview, Raimondo said: “I was very clear, direct and firm in all of my conversations with my Chinese counterparts. I didn’t pull any punches. I didn’t sugarcoat anything.”
Raimondo’s remarks follow an intense four-day trip during which she discussed a range of sensitive bilateral issues with Chinese leaders, and even referred to the US’s once largest trade partner as “uninvestible”.
Raimondo had said US firms faced new challenges in China, including unexplained large fines, raids on businesses and changes to a counterespionage law.
Yet, at the same time, she had also encouraged US businesses to “continue to do” what they were doing. “We want you here investing, growing,” she had said.
While the two countries used to be each other’s largest trade partners, bilateral trade between them has slumped 20% so far this year.
Souring ties have meant that Washington now trades more with neighbouring Canada and Mexico, while Beijing trades more with Southeast Asia.
China economy worse due to opacity
China is also grappling with its own set of challenges. The world’s second-largest economy has struggled to recover from pandemic-era lockdowns that brought