Commerce Secretary Wants Closer Economic Ties With China as Beijing Flies Warplanes Over Taiwan

Gina Raimondo says 'robust commercial engagement' with Communist regime is 'just an economic fact'

Gina Raimondo
Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo / Getty Images
September 24, 2021

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo called Friday for closer business ties with China even as Beijing increases its military muster.

"It's just an economic fact" that the United States must trade with China, Raimondo told the Wall Street Journal. "I actually think robust commercial engagement will help to mitigate any potential tensions."

Raimondo also said that climate-change cooperation with China may prove "fruitful" for the United States. Biden climate czar John Kerry, whom Chinese officials in September relegated to a Zoom conference as they met in person with Taliban leaders, has made similar comments. As commerce secretary, Raimondo plays a vital role in managing international trade, including with Chinese companies often flagged for national security concerns.

National security experts panned Raimondo's call as out of touch with reality.

"The Commerce Department hasn't adjusted to a world where China is a serious rival to the U.S. and is heading to a slow-motion clash with Congress," said Derek Scissors, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Raimondo's call for increased cooperation with China comes as the Communist regime increases its aggressive military posturing. China on Thursday sent another 24 warplanes into Taiwanese airspace, one of the largest incursions in two years. Beijing has also significantly altered its messaging on Taiwan during the Biden administration. Chinese state media in September threatened "military measures" after reports broke that the United States would recognize the island democracy as "Taiwan" instead of "Taipei."