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At Biden’s Commerce Secretary nomination hearing, China really became the protagonist again.

At Biden's Commerce Secretary nomination hearing, China really became the protagonist again.

January 26th, local time, Gina M. Raimondo, the candidate for Commerce nominated by President Biden, appeared on video link to the Commerce Committee of the U.S. Senate to attend the nomination confirmation hearing.

Raimondo, a former venture capitalist and current governor of Rhode Island, has played an important role in reducing unemployment in the state.

At the hearing, Raimondo refused to promise to keep Huawei, SMIC and other Chinese companies on the “blacklist” of US trade, nor did he disclose how to implement the trade rules and tariff policies formulated by the previous government, which was sharply criticized by Republican senators such as Cruz.

But Raimondo claimed to use the power of the Department of Commerce to take positive action to “protect Americans and American networks from interference from China” and named two Chinese companies – Huawei and ZTE.

She claimed to lawmakers that China’s actions “hurt American workers and businesses” and falsely claimed that China “responsible for human rights violations”.

According to the New York Times and Reuters on the 26th, at the confirmation hearing that began at 10 a.m. on the same day, the questions raised about RAIMONDO mainly on three points: how to deal with China’s growing “technology threat”, how to implement the trade rules and tariff policies formulated by the previous government, and how to promote Economic recovery.

“I will do my best to protect Americans and our networks from Chinese interference, or any kind of backdoor, to the maximum extent possible.” Raimondo claimed to use the power of the Department of Commerce to promote U.S. capabilities in areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, 5G and broadband access, while protecting the U.S. telecommunications network from “unaffected by Chinese companies”, even naming ZTE and Huawei.

She claimed that China’s “anti-competitive behavior hurt American workers and businesses” and falsely said that China was “responsible for serious human rights violations”.

Reuters reported that if the nomination is confirmed, Raimondo is believed to continue to promote a ban on Chinese TikTok or WeChat software from American application stores.

Previously, three U.S. judges blocked an injunction issued by the last U.S. Department of Commerce against the two applications. Both cases are still pending further hearing in the United States Circuit Court.

At the hearing, when asked by Republican Senator Cruz whether she would keep Huawei on the “blacklist”, Raimondo replied that she would “re-examine the policy and consult with lawmakers, the industry and allies to assess what is most beneficial to the national and economic security of the United States”.

During the Trump administration, the U.S. government frequently used the power of the Ministry of Commerce to unreasonably suppress Chinese technology companies on the grounds of “national security”.

In the past few years, the U.S. Department of Commerce has put a large number of Chinese enterprises on the so-called “entity list”. According to the U.S. regulations, U.S. suppliers must apply to the U.S. government for an “exempt license” to continue to supply listed Chinese enterprises.

The New York Times said that although Raimondo was tough on China in her speech and both parties regarded Chinese companies such as Huawei as “national security risks”, she refused to promise to keep these Chinese companies in the “blacklist” established during the previous government.

Raimondo’s above-mentioned statement undoubtedly came under the sharp responsibility of Republican lawmakers, including Cruz.

Cruz said at the hearing: “There are rumors in Washington that the Biden administration is considering relaxing restrictions on China and removing some companies from the list of entities.

I certainly hope this doesn’t happen because I think it would be a serious violation of the national security interests of the United States.”

Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, tweeted on the 26th: “It’s amazing and frankly disturbing that Ms. Raimondo can’t promise to keep Huawei on the entity list. I strongly urge her to reconsider.”

Raimondo has not made a clear statement on how to implement the trade rules and tariff policies formulated by the previous government, and seems to choose to be cautious about the Trump administration imposing steel tariffs on European countries.

She declined to say whether the Biden administration would remove or change steel tariffs, only promising to consult with allies and conduct a broad review of trade policy.

In pushing for economic recovery, Raimondo advocates combining public and private sector experiences to help the United States cope with the economic losses caused by the epidemic and increase investment in American workers and enterprises.

Katherine Tai, the incoming U.S. Trade Representative, has also said that the new government wants a “worker-centered trade policy”.

It should be noted that the Biden administration is facing pressure from the industry to ease the strict sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on China.

According to Reuters on the 25th, a semiconductor manufacturing company wrote to Raimondo on the same day, calling on the Biden administration to review the Trump administration’s export control policy.

The letter wrote that the unilateral policies of the previous administration made any potential benefits possible to dissipate over time, causing unnecessary harm to American industry and making American exporters vulnerable to retaliation.

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