US Treasury Secretary Yellen, in China, calls for level-playing field for US workers and firms – Metro US

US Treasury Secretary Yellen, in China, calls for level-playing field for US workers and firms

China US Yellen
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, left, shakes hands with Wang Weizhong, deputy party secretary and governor of Guangdong prior to a meeting at the Baiyun International Conference Center (BICC) in southern China’s Guangdong province, Friday, April 5, 2024. Yellen has arrived in China for five days of meetings in a country that’s determined to avoid open conflict with the United States. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)

GUANGZHOU, China (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called Friday for a level playing field for American companies and workers as she opened a five-day visit to China in a major industrial and export hub.

Yellen told Wang Weizhong, the governor of Guangdong province, that it’s important for the two sides to have open and direct communication on areas of disagreement.

“This includes the issue of China’s industrial overcapacity, which the United States and other countries are concerned can cause global spillovers,” she said.

Yellen, the first Cabinet-level official to visit China since President Joe Biden met Chinese leader Xi Jinping last November, has telegraphed that she will raise what the U.S. considers to be unfair Chinese trade practices, a concern shared by many European countries.

She is starting her trip in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, before heading to Beijing.

Before talks with the governor, she met with American, European and Japanese business representatives to hear their concerns, ahead of what will likely be tough talks on trade and other issues with senior Chinese government officials.

Eswar Prasad, a trade professor at Cornell University, expects Yellen to push Beijing to bolster domestic consumption and ensure fair competition in new technology sectors, especially green energy and electric vehicles, along with adequate market access for U.S. companies.

“Concerns about China attempting to export its overcapacity and simultaneously making a big push into these sectors will be top of mind for the U.S. delegation,” he said.

China has pushed back against the overcapacity concerns expressed by both the U.S. and Europe.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said earlier this week that the growth in Chinese EV and solar exports is conducive to green development globally and the result of the international division of labor and market demand.

He accused the U.S. of interfering with free trade by restricting technology exports to China.

“As for who is doing non-market manipulation, the fact is for everyone to see,” he said. “The U.S. has not stopped taking measures to contain China’s trade and technology. This is not ‘de-risking,’ rather, it is creating risks.”