U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo was on CNBC's Closing Bell yesterday. The CNBC hosts asked her about a number of topics, including China. In their China questions, they brought up sensitive subjects such as 1) President Xi's recent aggressive rhetoric and 2) the appropriate U.S. response to human rights issues in China. Raimondo's response stuck to Biden administration talking points (e.g., working with allies) and seemed to try to avoid inflaming US-China tensions. The full transcript was as follows:
I wanted to ask you about President Xi's speech today, marking 100 years celebration of the communist party. He issued a warning to -- nothing descriptive around specific powers -- but foreign powers that interfere with the Chinese, bully the Chinese, and specifically he said, "anyone who tries to do so shall be battered and bloodied from colliding with a great wall of steel forged by more than 1.4 billion Chinese people using flesh and blood." And I'm wondering, if you're a US company, a multinational company that does business there, how do you react to that, and how do you deal with the tensions that are brewing right now?
Yeah, so it's obviously, you know, a lot of bluster and rhetoric. I think US companies need to focus on doing their business, and certainly, one of my jobs is to improve export promotion, and we will be doing that with US companies. We'll do everything we can to make sure that our US companies are treated fairly and are able to have access to the Chinese market. We will make sure that that is the case, that the Chinese play by the rules, protect IP, allow our markets, our companies to access that market. But really what we need to do here in America, is let's, let's just play our game, right? Like let's be a strong America, let's invest in research and development, invest in infrastructure, invest in job training, and be the strong and great country that we are, and great economy that we are.
What about China's human rights abuses? I mean, we saw another round of individuals sanctioned last month. At what point will more than sanctions be used, because you know clearly these human rights abuses have persisted for quite some years and sanctions aren't stopping them.
Yeah, so they're unacceptable, to say the least. They are continuing, and we need to make sure that we do what we can to stand up against them. I think the key is working with our allies, and President Biden has been very clear about this. We were just over in Brussels a couple of weeks ago. The President led a delegation there, rejuvenating our long-standing relationships with the EU. Ultimately, it's going to take not just America but allied countries that believe in democracy and have shared values to put enough pressure on them to stop these clear and unjust and inhumane actions.