Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao will travel to the U.S. next week for meetings with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Trade Representative Katherine Tai, according to the Chinese embassy in Washington.
Wang will address “respective concerns” over economic and trade relations between the two nations in his talks with the U.S. officials, embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said Thursday. He will also attend a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers during his trip.
In recent years, top U.S. and China commerce officials have rarely held meetings. Wang lastspoke to Raimondo in 2021 in an introductory call, and he spoke with Tai on the sidelines of last year’s APEC meeting.
Tensions between the two superpowers have escalated under the Biden and Trump administrations, and relations in recent months have been further strained by the 200-foot-tall Chinese airship, which the U.S. called a spy balloon designed for eavesdropping.
Still, the U.S. and China remain important trade partners. In 2022, bilateral trade hit a historic high of nearly $760 billion, according to the embassy briefing.
“This fully demonstrates the strong complementarity between the two countries and resilience of the economic and trade relationship,” Liu said. “This bilateral relationship cannot be simplistically defined by ‘competition.”
Representatives for Raimondo and Tai did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The expected trade talks next week come after NBC News reported last month that a breakdown in communication between Washington and Beijing is raising the risk of an unintended crisis or conflict between the two nations.