Yellen says U.S. plans to ‘underscore’ need for China to shift policy

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attends a press conference at U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Beijing on April 8, 2024.

Pedro Pardo | Afp | Getty Images

BEIJING — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Monday that future discussions between the U.S. and China will focus on Beijing’s need to shift its policy on industry and the economy.

“We intend to underscore the need for a shift in policy during these talks — building on the over two hours I spent on this topic with the Vice Premier last week,” she said in prepared remarks for a press conference Monday, as she wrapped up the fourth and final full day of her trip to China.

She arrived in Guangzhou on Thursday and is set to depart Beijing on Tuesday.

Yellen said her conversations with Chinese officials during her trip discussed plans Beijing had for its economy. But she did not elaborate.

During her trip, Yellen met with top Chinese officials including Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing and Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng in Guangzhou.

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“Over the past year, we have put our bilateral relationship on more stable footing,” Yellen said in prepared remarks for her meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing on Sunday.

“This has not meant ignoring our differences or avoiding tough conversations,” she said. “It has meant understanding that we can only make progress if we directly and openly communicate with one another.”

In a readout from China, Li said Beijing hoped the U.S. would abide by market economy norms and avoid politicizing trade issues. He said the development of China’s new energy industry will make important contributions to global carbon neutrality efforts.

The U.S. and China agreed to “intensive exchanges on balanced growth in the domestic and global economies,” according to a Treasury readout following Yellen’s meetings in Guangzhou with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng.

The two countries also agreed to “start Joint Treasury-PBOC Cooperation and Exchange on Anti-Money Laundering to expand cooperation against illicit finance and financial crime,” the readout said.

The Chinese side did not explicitly mention such agreements, but said both sides planned to maintain communication. Beijing also “expressed serious concerns” about U.S. trade restrictions.

The Chinese readout described the talks as “constructive,” and noted conversations about “balanced economic growth,” “financial stability” and “anti-money laundering.” That’s according to a CNBC translation.

The U.S. Treasury secretary also met Minister of Finance Lan Fo’an, the mayors of Beijing and Guangzhou, representatives of U.S. businesses and professors and students at Peking University during the visit.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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