Yellen: China acts illegally and tries to dominate rivals


Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday criticized China’s aid to companies as she set out how the U.S. wants to act versus the world’s number two-economy.

In excerpts of remarks for a speech to be delivered Thursday morning at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, Yellen said China has acted illegally.

China in recent years has expanded support for its state-owned enterprises and domestic private firms to “dominate foreign competitors,” she said. “This strategy has been coupled with aggressive efforts to acquire new technological know-how and intellectual property – including through IP theft and other illicit means.”

Yellen also said the U.S. will prioritize national security interests even at the expense of the economy. “As in all of our foreign relations, national security is of paramount importance in our relationship with China. For example, we have made clear that safeguarding certain technologies from the PRC’s military and security apparatus is of vital national interest,” she said. She stressed that the U.S. will not just protects its own national security interests but also those “of our allies and partners” — likely an allusion to Taiwan — as well as human rights, she said.

Yellen also said the U.S. was seeking cooperation on global challenges, such as climate and debt distress. “We call on China to follow through on its promise to work with us on these issues – not as a favor to us, but out of our joint duty and obligation to the world. Tackling these issues together will also advance the national interests of both of our countries.”

Yellen made no mention of the tariffs imposed on China by the Trump administration that have been left in place by the Biden administration in the released excerpts. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, tariffs of 19% apply on roughly two-thirds of China’s exports. Chinese tariffs of 21% apply on 58% of U.S. exports.

A spokesperson for China’s commerce ministry said U.S. and Chinese officials met last week, discussing trade and communication, as a report said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo may visit Beijing and Shanghai.

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