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APEC Summit: What President Biden and President Xi Need to Address

Updated: Mar 31

Migena Satyal

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit is being held in San Francisco from November 11-17, 2023 which will allow leaders and delegates from Asia-Pacific to discuss ongoing political and economic issues. During this dialogue, President Biden and President Xi are scheduled to meet on November 15 to discuss trade policies and Taiwan while addressing the rising tensions between China and United States.

Relations between China and United States have been particularly thorny recently. Beijing was furious with U.S. imposing export controls on advanced technology, U.S. military shot down a Chinese spy balloon as it traversed the continental U.S. and Taiwanese President stopped over in the United States earlier this year which antagonized Chinese officials that claim the island as a part of the country. China’s ties with North Korea and Russia has also heightened anxiety in the American political sphere.

These geopolitical tensions have had a spillover on the economy as well. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has insisted that the U.S. must maintain its economic ties with China. She has claimed, “We seek a healthy economic relationship with China that benefits both countries over time. When we have concerns about specific economic practices, such as those preventing American firms and workers from competing on a level playing field, we will communicate them directly.” Secretary Yellen will be setting the stage for the dialogue with Xi and Biden as she is set to meet with Vice Premier He Lifeng.

The theme for this year’s APEC Summit is of inclusiveness and interconnectedness but the relations between U.S. and China is more volatile and distant than ever. Analysts claim that given the competitive nature of the United States and China, expectations should remain low about the outcome of the summit. One of the biggest challenges, according to the deputy director for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Nicolas Szechenyi, is the competitive nature of U.S. economic strategy in its new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework: “U.S. strategy is very much focused on economic competition with China.”

China’s major concerns also include curtailment of supply chain, restrictions on technology products like semiconductors, and tariffs on Chinese goods.

Moving forward, Chinese and American officials need to salvage their relationship based on mutual respect and understanding despite that tensions that have emerged in recent years. The focus needs to be people and the economy as it is imminent to stabilize the market expectations and form a good environment for foreign direct investments. The talks during the APEC summit need to be guided through the lens of cooperation than competition.


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