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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attends a meeting of G20 finance ministers and health ministers in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, November 12, 2022. Nagi/Pool via Reuters
NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with China’s central bank governor Yi Gang on Wednesday for talks on issues including high energy and commodity prices and the macroeconomic outlook for the two countries, the U.S. Treasury Department said.
A U.S. Treasury Department official said the two-hour meeting “had a candid, constructive and positive tone.” “Secretary Yellen and Governor Yi also discussed G20 issues in the context of global challenges,” the official said.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali after a rocket landed in NATO member Poland, killing two and raising concerns that the conflict in Ukraine could spill over into Concerns at its borders, which overshadowed the news. G7 and European leaders met at the summit to discuss the situation.
Yellen will also hold her first talks with Italy’s new Economy and Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti on Wednesday as the G20 leaders’ summit winds down.
In talks with Yi Gang first reported by Reuters, Yellen and Treasury officials said they would seek more clarity on China’s plans to ease the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 lockdown. Its growth and constraints on its supply chain, and how Beijing will handle its sprawling real estate sector.
Yellen’s first face-to-face conversation with a senior Chinese economic official follows President Joe Biden’s three-hour meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday.
While there were blunt discussions about Taiwan and North Korea, human rights and trade policy, both leaders emphasized the need to get U.S.-China relations back on track, Biden said he Want to “manage this competition responsibly”.
Yellen said on Monday she hoped the meeting would lead to increased economic engagement between the two superpowers.
Amid lingering economic tensions between Washington and Beijing, former President Donald Trump Tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports.
Yellen had earlier argued that removing tariffs on “non-strategic” consumer goods this year would lower income for businesses and consumers amid high inflation costs, but Biden refrained from moving to ease the tariffs after China reacted sharply to a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is now conducting a four-year statutory review of whether to maintain the tariffs.