US and China agree to export control information dialogue

The United States and China have agreed to launch an export control enforcement information dialogue and a new formal working group on commercial issues, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Monday, giving Beijing a potential forum to express concerns.

After meetings between U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, the exchange would provide a “platform to reduce misunderstandings of U.S. national security policies,” Raimondo said, adding: “We are not compromising or negotiating on matters of national security. Period.”

The first in-person meeting of the export control information exchange will be held at the assistant secretary level at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing on Tuesday, Raimondo said.

“The United States is committed to be transparent about our export control enforcement strategy,” she said. “To show you how real this is, the first meeting of that new information exchange is tomorrow in Beijing. We’re wasting no time.”

China has criticized U.S. efforts to block China’s access to advanced semiconductors through export controls, but Raimondo has said those are not open for debate.

The White House this month moved to start prohibiting some U.S. investment in sensitive technologies in China and plans to soon finalize sweeping export restrictions on advanced semiconductors adopted in October.

Some Republicans in Congress had urged Raimondo earlier this month not to open a formal working group on export control issues.

Raimondo noted earlier this year that she had put over 200 Chinese companies on a U.S. export control list and has repeatedly said she not hesitant to use the power as necessary.

The new commercial issues working group is a consultation mechanism involving U.S. and Chinese government officials and private sector representatives “to seek solutions on trade and investment issues and to advance U.S. commercial interests in China.”

Raimondo, who had a meeting lasting more than two hours with Wang followed by a two-hour lunch, said she wants to address concerns from U.S. businesses that are having difficulties operating in China.

“We’re delivering. We will have that formal communication,” she said.

The working group will meet twice annually at the vice minister level, with the U.S. hosting the first meeting in early 2024.

The United States and China also agree to convene subject matter experts from both sides for technical discussions “regarding strengthening the protection of trade secrets and confidential business information,” Raimondo said.

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