Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called for “constructive and fair” economic ties between the US and China while maintaining a focus on protecting US national security interests and pushing back against China’s actions to dominate foreign competitors. Yellen laid out the Biden administration’s principal objectives for the economic relationship between the two largest economies during a speech at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
American Democracy and National Security at the Forefront
Yellen emphasised the importance of the US people, values, and institutions that protect the free exchange of ideas and rule of law at the bedrock of sustainable growth. She noted that the United States remains the world’s largest and most dynamic economy, leading in areas ranging from wealth to technological innovation.
“American democracy protects the free exchange of ideas and rule of law that is at the bedrock of sustainable growth,” Yellen said. She stressed that the Biden administration’s economic priorities with China include securing US national security interests and fostering “healthy” competition.
Addressing China’s Dominance and Aggressive Tactics
The Treasury Secretary also communicated the administration’s concerns about China’s increased support for state-owned enterprises and domestic private firms to dominate foreign competitors, as well as its “aggressive” efforts to acquire new know-how, including through intellectual property theft and “other illicit means.”
Yellen stated, “The goal of US actions against China is not to gain a competitive economic advantage, but to protect US security and values.” She highlighted that Washington would not compromise on these concerns, even when they forced trade-offs with US economic interests.
Cooperation on Global Issues and Healthy Economic Competition
Yellen urged China to make good on its vow to work with the US on macroeconomic issues and urgent global challenges such as climate change and debt distress. The Biden administration believes that healthy economic competition with a fair set of rules could benefit both countries over time and is not seeking a “winner-take-all” competition.
Healthy economic competition with a fair set of rules can benefit both countries over time,” Yellen stated, adding that the administration would cooperate with China, where possible, on global issues such as climate change, debt relief, and macroeconomic stability.
A Constructive Path Forward
In her speech, Yellen called for a constructive and fair economic relationship between the US and China while ensuring that the United States’ national security interests are protected. She reiterated the importance of fostering healthy competition and cooperating on global issues as vital components of this relationship.
The Biden administration believes that healthy economic competition with a fair set of rules could benefit both countries over time, and Washington will not compromise on its concerns, even when they force trade-offs with US economic interests.