Yellen calls China meetings 'productive', seeks level playing field

Yellen calls China meetings 'productive', seeks level playing field
Yellen calls China meetings 'productive', seeks level playing field

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen shakes hands with China's Vice Premier He Lifeng before a meeting at the Guangdong Zhudao Guest House, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China April 6, 2024. ― Reuters pic

GUANGZHOU, China, April 6 ― US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said today she had “productive conversations” with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng on the bilateral economic relationship after two days of meetings in China's southern export hub of Guangzhou.

“The US seeks to create a level playing field for American workers and firms, as well as deeper cooperation on illicit finance, climate change and other priorities,” Yellen said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Her post did not directly mention her top priority for her four-day visit to China: to try to persuade Chinese officials to rein in excess production capacity for electric vehicles, solar panels and other clean energy technology that are threatening competing firms in the US and other countries.

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Chinese state media pushed back on her excess capacity arguments, calling them a “pretext” for protectionist US policies.

Such comments seek to undermine China's domestic growth and international cooperation, and Washington should focus on fostering innovation and competitiveness within its own borders instead of resorting to “fear-mongering,” state news agency Xinhua said in an editorial late yesterday.

Yellen, He Lifeng and their teams held over four and a half hour’s worth of meetings today on a range of economic topics, with US concerns about China's growing exports of electric vehicles, solar panels and other goods the biggest priority for the Treasury chief.

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Yellen is expected to speak with reporters later today.

Yellen told US businesspeople in China's southern export hub of Guangzhou yesterday that concerns are growing over the global economic fallout from China's excess manufacturing capacity, making the issue the focus of her four days of meetings with Chinese officials.

Citing China's overproduction of electric vehicles, solar panels, semiconductors and other goods that are flooding into global markets in the face of a demand slump in China's domestic market, Yellen said this was not healthy for China and was hurting producers in other countries.

“Talking up 'Chinese overcapacity' in the clean energy sector also smacks of creating a pretext for rolling out more protectionist policies to shield US companies,” Xinhua said.

“After all, it is now known by the world that Washington will not hesitate to show its protectionist teeth under the guise of national security in areas where its supremacy is challenged.”

Yellen met with Vice Premier He Lifeng and Guangdong Province Governor Wang Weizhong in Guangzhou after arriving in China late on Thursday.

She is to travel later on Saturday to Beijing, where she will meet officials including Premier Li Qiang, Finance Minister Lan Foan and People's Bank of China Governor Pan Gongsheng through Monday, according to a Treasury press advisory. ― Reuters

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