Secretary Statements & Remarks

Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at Roundtable Discussion with U.S. Businesses Operating in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you for joining me today. It is great to see all of you.

I am here in Beijing to carry forward President Biden’s directive from his meeting with President Xi last November to deepen our communications with China, including on economic issues.

We believe that it is in the best interests of both countries to make sure we have direct and clear lines of communication at senior levels. In the economic realm, regular exchanges with our Chinese counterparts can help us monitor economic and financial risks, and it can help create the conditions for a healthy economic relationship between our two countries

I believe that’s particularly important right now as the global economy faces headwinds like Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine and the lingering effects of the pandemic.

During this trip, I am discussing with Chinese officials our respective economic outlooks.

As I said in my speech in April, the U.S. seeks healthy economic competition with China. But healthy economic competition – where both sides benefit – is only sustainable if that competition is fair.

During meetings with my counterparts, I am communicating the concerns that I’ve heard from the U.S. business community – including China’s use of non-market tools like expanded subsidies for its state-owned enterprises and domestic firms, as well as barriers to market access for foreign firms. I’ve been particularly troubled by punitive actions that have been taken against U.S. firms in recent months.

I am also concerned about new export controls recently announced by China on two critical minerals used in technologies like semiconductors. We are still evaluating the impact of these actions, but they remind us of the importance of building resilient and diversified supply chains.

Our economic relationship with China must work for American workers and businesses. I will always champion your interests and work to make sure there is a level playing field. This includes coordinating with our allies to respond to China’s unfair economic practices.

I also think that a shift toward market reforms would be in China’s interests. A market-based approach helped spur rapid growth in China and helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. This is a remarkable economic success story.

Many of your firms understand how a level playing field can benefit both of our countries. China has an enormous and growing middle-class, with consumers who are eager to consume American goods and services.

I have made clear that the United States does not seek a wholesale separation of our economies. We seek to diversify, not to decouple. A decoupling of the world’s two largest economies would be destabilizing for the global economy, and it would be virtually impossible to undertake.

I also made clear that actions we take to protect our national security are designed to be narrowly targeted – and that they are premised on straightforward national security considerations and not undertaken to gain economic advantage over China.

In fact, trade between our two countries reached an all-time high last year. And if it is fair, trade and investment can support American jobs at home and promote American innovation. A stable and constructive relationship between the U.S. and China is in the interests of American workers and businesses.

I look forward to hearing from you today about your plans in China, as well as how China’s policies and practices are impacting your business operations.