US-China relations: Antony Blinken calls for level playing field for business and hits out at ‘non-market practices’

by Kawala Xie at

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised concerns about China’s “non-market practices” on the second day of his visit to the country.

In a meeting with Shanghai party chief Chen Jining on Thursday morning, Blinken opened by saying: “It’s important to underscore the value – in fact, the necessity – of direct engagement, of sustained engagement, of speaking to each other, laying out our differences which are real, seeking to work through them, and also looking for ways to build cooperation where we can.

“We have an obligation for our people and, indeed, an obligation for the world to manage the relationship between our two countries responsibly.”

Blinken’s visit, his second to the country in the space of 12 months, comes as the United States and China are stepping up official contacts in an effort to stop relations deteriorating further due to their ongoing disputes over issues such as trade and Taiwan.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said after the meeting: “In a constructive and candid exchange, [Blinken] raised concerns about PRC [People’s Republic of China] trade policies and non-market economic practices and stressed that the United States seeks a healthy economic competition with the PRC and a level playing field for US workers and firms operating in China.”

The US has accused China of undermining the interests of American firms through unfair competition and manufacturing “overcapacity”, floating the possibility of placing further tariffs on Chinese goods such as electric vehicles and metals to stop them “flooding” the market.

The Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday that accusations about overcapacity are “unreasonable”, and warned they may damage business confidence and global green development.

Chen, who is also a member of the Chinese Politburo, told Blinken in the meeting that Shanghai is home to more than 8,000 American companies.