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Here’s who Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is going to meet in China

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, center, waits with others to receive Chinese President Xi Jinping at the San Francisco International Airport on Nov. 14, 2023, ahead of Xi’s meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

BEIJING — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was scheduled to arrive in China on Thursday ahead of four full days of meetings with Chinese officials.

It’s her second trip to the country since the summer, as the U.S. and China seek to increase high-level communication in an otherwise tense relationship. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also due to visit China again later this year.

“I think our expectation is that we will at senior levels, and increasingly at all levels, continue to have ongoing and deepening dialogue. We went for too long with too little communication, and misunderstandings developed,” Yellen told reporters ahead of her arrival in China.

Her trip will cover the southern city of Guangzhou — the capital of China’s export-heavy province of Guangdong — and the national capital of Beijing, according to a press release.

Here’s her full itinerary of meetings:

  • Friday, April 5 — meet with Vice Premier He Lifeng, Guangdong Governor Wang Weizhong, economic experts and AmCham China business representatives
  • Saturday, April 6 — continue meetings with Vice Premier He Lifeng
  • Sunday, April 7 — meet with Premier Li Qiang, Finance Minister Lan Fo’an, Beijing mayor Yin Yong, leading Chinese economists and Peking University students and professors
  • Monday, April 8 — meet with former Vice Premier Liu He, People’s Bank of China Governor Pan Gongsheng

What will they talk about?

According to the Treasury, Yellen will discuss “unfair trade practices and underscoring the global economic consequences of Chinese industrial overcapacity.”

China has faced growing global scrutiny over how the country’s emphasis on building up its manufacturing capabilities, including the use of subsidies and policy support to do so, has helped Chinese companies to sell products such as solar panels at far lower prices than manufacturers in other countries.

In March, European Union Chamber of Commerce President Jens Eskelund said trade tensions between the EU and China will likely escalate as a result.

Guangdong is by far the top province in China by value of exports, according to Wind Information.

The province exported nearly 5.4 trillion yuan ($750 billion) in manufactured products last year, with equipment accounting for two thirds, according to Tu Gaokun, director of Guangdong’s industry and information technology department.

He told reporters last week the province was “committed” to improving productivity, and noted how it aimed to build up sectors such as new energy storage, biomanufacturing and commercial aviation.

Tackling ‘illicit finance’

During her meetings in China, Yellen will also “work to expand bilateral cooperation on countering illicit finance, which can drive important progress on shared efforts against criminal activity such as drug trafficking and fraud,” the Treasury said.

It added that Yellen would discuss work on bolstering financial stability, addressing climate change and resolving debt distress in developing nations.

The trip will mark Yellen’s third meeting with Vice Premier He Lifeng, whom the Treasury secretary is also set to meet later this month at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group spring meetings in Washington, D.C.

He Lifeng is also director of the office of the Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs, a role formerly held by Liu.

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