Biden, Xi Summit: Balancing Regional Stability, Trade, and Tech Tensions
November 13, 2023
This week, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco, the heads of the two largest economies in the world will convene for a crucial meeting. This key interaction will focus on a range of critical issues, from regional stability amidst rising geopolitical tensions to achieving just and equitable trade and economic relations.
In the year since President Biden’s last encounter with Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Indonesia, situations have deteriorated, with complications including “tech export restrictions”, the notorious “Chinese spy balloon incident”, and increased U.S. support for Taiwan.
Restoring Military Communication
According to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Chinese authorities have effectively cut off once-active U.S.-China military communication lines. These channels are crucial for avoiding misinterpretations of actions or information, and President Biden is intent on restoring them. The upcoming summit presents an ideal opportunity to make strides towards this goal.
Economic Relations: A Complicated Interplay
The economic aspects of U.S.-China relations are equally complex, with various conflicting ideas about how best to reshape these ties due to their significant potential outcomes. One primary contention involves identifying the level of support that should be provided to burgeoning industries like semiconductors, electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. Additionally, there are debates over whether Trump-era tariffs should continue to encourage reshoring and manufacturing in more favorable countries.
Revamping Trade Alliances
The dynamic discourse also focuses on establishing new trade alliances and reconfiguring vital supply chains. In anticipation of the San Francisco summit, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen initiated discussions with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng aimed at bolstering communication at all levels.
Following their two-day engagement, Yellen pointed out the potential impacts of “decoupling the U.S. economy from China’s”, noting that such a move could be detrimental to both nations and risk destabilizing the global economy. Yellen also emphasized the need for American workers and firms to receive equitable treatment to ensure prosperous economic relationships.