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USA and China discuss “severe” economic challenges, supply chains – AFR

Top officials from the US and China held a “candid” video call on Tuesday to discuss global economic challenges, particularly related to supply chains.

The exchange between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen came as President Joe Biden is considering lifting some tariffs on imports from China to try to ease rising inflation.

The world’s two largest economies are also grappling with Covid-embroiled supply chains and soaring global energy prices.

“The two sides agree that as the global economy faces major challenges, it is of great importance to strengthen macro-political communication and coordination between China and the United States,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

“And maintaining the stability of global industrial and supply chains together is in the interest of both countries and the world at large.”

The Xinhua report said the video call was at the request of the United States and described the conversation as “constructive.”

Yellen and Liu “discussed macroeconomic and financial developments in the United States and China, the global economic outlook amid rising commodity prices and food security challenges,” the US Treasury Department said in a selection.

“Secretary Yellen openly addressed concerns including the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine on the global economy and unfair non-market (Chinese) economic practices.”

China has repeatedly refused to condemn the Russian invasion and has been accused of offering diplomatic protection to Moscow by busting Western sanctions and arms sales to Ukraine.

With inflation in the United States at a 40-year high, authorities there are trying to find ways to ease price pressures.

Options include lifting some trade tariffs imposed on China by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.

Any decision is likely to come soon, as some of Trump’s duties expire on July 6 if not renewed.

The penalties were aimed at punishing what the United States describes as China’s unfair trade practices.

Speaking to Yellen on Tuesday, China expressed “concerns on issues such as the US side lifting additional tariffs on China and sanctions,” according to Xinhua.

Contact between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected in the coming weeks.

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