The United States and China have formed two working groups focused on economic and financial issues to establish a regular communication channel between the two countries. The Economic Working Group will be overseen by the Department of the Treasury and China’s Ministry of Finance, while the Financial Working Group will be led by the People’s Bank of China and the Treasury. These groups will meet regularly and report to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and China’s Vice Premier He Lifeng. The aim is to facilitate discussions on economic and financial policy matters and exchange information on macroeconomic and financial developments.
Treasury Secretary Yellen described this initiative as “an important step forward” in the bilateral relationship between the US and China. During her visit to Beijing in July, Yellen met with various Chinese officials but did not achieve any breakthroughs. The working groups will serve as channels to convey America’s interests and concerns, promote fair competition, and advance cooperation on global challenges. Yellen emphasized the importance of dialogue, especially when there are disagreements between the two countries.
China’s Ministry of Finance also released a statement announcing the creation of these working groups, stating that it follows the common understandings reached between the presidents of the two countries at their meeting in Bali last year. Dialogues and engagement have been a longstanding approach in the US-China relationship, although they diminished during the Trump administration. The Biden administration aims to compete with China rather than engage in conflict. Contentious issues between the two countries include tariffs, technology, and Taiwan.
Secretary Yellen has previously addressed China’s human rights abuses and expressed optimism about working towards a future of shared global economic progress. She has emphasized the importance of direct communication to resolve concerns and safeguard national security interests without worsening bilateral economic relationships.