As prepared for delivery
Thank you for being here today.
The relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China is one of the most important of our time. As the world’s two largest economies, our nations collectively represent 40 percent of the global economy. What we do – both bilaterally and on the broader global stage – shapes the lives and livelihoods of people in our countries and beyond.
I have intended to speak about this relationship clearly and honestly: meeting the challenges and opportunities that present themselves to us based on sober realities. The United States and China have significant disagreements. These disagreements must be communicated clearly and directly. But President Biden and I do not view the U.S.-China relationship as a great power conflict. We believe the world is big enough for both our countries to prosper. Both nations have an obligation to manage this relationship responsibly: to find a way to live together and share global prosperity.
Like Secretary Blinken, I came to Beijing to follow up on President Biden’s directive to deepen bilateral communications following his meeting with President Xi last November. My goal during this trip was to establish and deepen relationships with the new economic leadership team in place in Beijing. Our discussions are part of a broader concerted effort to stabilize relations, reduce the risk of misunderstanding and discuss areas of cooperation.
Over the past two days, that’s exactly what I’ve had the chance to do. I met with Premier Li, Vice Premier He, Finance Minister Liu, People’s Bank of China Chief Pan and other senior officials to discuss important pillars of our economic relations. These conversations were direct, substantive and productive. We were able to learn about each other’s economies and policy choices, which I think is vital as the two largest economies in the world. Even when we disagree, I think the frank and in-depth discussions we have had about the opportunities and challenges in our relationship, and the greater understanding they have allowed us to make actions and actions of each country, are clearly useful. intentions. Overall, I believe that my bilateral meetings – which lasted a total of about 10 hours over two days – were a step forward in our efforts to strengthen the relationship between the United States and China.
Let me go into more detail about some of our discussions.
First, I made it known that President Biden and I seek a future marked by healthy economic competition between our countries. We believe it is possible to achieve a long-term, mutually beneficial economic relationship – one that supports growth and innovation on both sides. Indeed, I noted that China’s growth has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and made clear that the United States was not seeking to dissociate itself from China. There is an important distinction between decoupling, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, diversifying critical supply chains or taking targeted national security measures. We know that a decoupling of the world’s two largest economies would be disastrous for both countries and destabilizing for the world. And it would be practically impossible to undertake. We want a vibrant and healthy global economy that is open, free and fair, not a fragmented economy that forces countries to take sides.
I also conveyed to my counterparts that healthy economic competition is only sustainable if it benefits both parties. I expressed our serious concerns about China’s unfair economic practices. This includes the breadth and depth of China’s non-market policies, as well as market access barriers for foreign companies and issues related to intellectual property. Fair treatment is essential so that American businesses and workers can compete on a level playing field – and benefit economically from trade and investment with China and the immense market it represents for American goods and services. I also expressed concerns about the recent surge in enforcement actions against U.S. businesses.
Importantly, I believe that a move toward a more market-oriented Chinese system would not only be in the interests of the United States and other countries. It would also be better for the Chinese economy. During this trip, I met with American business leaders who expressed their desire to see greater economic engagement with China. I also know that many companies have expressed various concerns about the challenges that foreign companies may face here. It is important that we work together to ensure that businesses understand that there is a wide range of economic interactions that are not controversial on either side.
Second, we also talked about national security and human rights. I have stressed to my counterparts the need for clear and direct communication about the actions we are taking – and why we are taking them. Commitment from senior leaders is particularly vital in tense moments. The United States will continue to take the targeted actions necessary to protect our national security interests and those of our allies. In doing so, we adhere to a set of important principles, such as ensuring that our national security actions are transparent, narrow in scope and focused on clear objectives. It is important to note that these actions are motivated by simple national security considerations. We do not use them to obtain an economic advantage.
I also stressed the importance of ending Russia’s brutal and illegal war against Ukraine. As we continue to monitor the domestic situation in Russia, U.S. support for Ukraine will not change. And I indicated that it was essential that Chinese companies avoid providing Russia with material support or assistance to circumvent sanctions.
Third, we discussed areas where we can work together to address global challenges – from tackling the climate crisis to sovereign debt sustainability. This is not a bilateral issue between China and the United States. This is responsible global leadership. The world deserves and expects its two largest economies to work together on these global problems and help find solutions.
We exchanged our views on macroeconomic and financial developments in our two countries. And we shared a common vision that sustained engagement on these issues was important to maintaining global financial stability. Regarding debt distress in developing countries and emerging markets, we welcomed recent progress in individual cases such as Zambia. I reiterated the importance of prompt and full participation of all official bilateral creditors in other urgent cases. Our government believes that improving the debt restructuring process is crucial for the global economy. Furthermore, we believe that China, as the world’s largest bilateral creditor, can benefit from the greater certainty provided by these improvements. We also discussed the possibility of working together to mobilize private financing for climate action. And I was able to meet a group of climate finance leaders in Beijing during a roundtable. The U.S. Treasury and the People’s Bank of China will co-chair the G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group, a concrete example of our ability to work together and lead on global challenges. We also talked about important efforts to modernize our international development finance system.
No visit will solve our problems overnight. But I hope this trip will help establish a resilient and productive channel of communication with China’s new economic team. Over the past two years, meetings between our two sides have received significant public coverage, including my visit to China and that of Secretary Blinken. I hope we can move to a phase in our relationship where high-level diplomacy is simply seen as a natural part of managing one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world.
Let me close by saying this: Navigating the contours of the U.S.-China relationship is no easy task. But we must never forget that, despite the challenges, our path is not predestined. During this trip, I had the opportunity to meet a group of Chinese women economists. These economists grew up an ocean away from the United States, but they share many things in common with the American economists I have worked with throughout my career: a desire to do good work and ensure a better future. for themselves, their families and the world. Ultimately, the path we take in our bilateral relations is a choice that both countries make. I believe our two countries must make the right choice for our people and for the world: a choice that advances our common interest in peace and prosperity.
With that, I will answer your questions.