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Treasury Secretary Yellen Says US, EU Must Respond to China’s Industrial Overcapacity

Published: May 24, 2024
(Image: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks to reporters, alongside Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, at the sidelines of IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings at the World Bank in Washington, U.S., April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)

On Tuesday, May 21,  U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States and Europe needed to respond to Beijing’s industrial policies in a “strategic and united way”.

Yellen said the excess industrial capacity of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) threatened both American and European companies, as well as the industrial development of emerging market countries. She also remarked on the importance of the U.S. European alliance during her speech in Frankfurt.

“China’s industrial policy may seem remote as we sit here in this room, but if we do not respond strategically and in a united way, the viability of businesses in both our countries and around the world could be at risk,” she said.

The Biden administration last week announced steep new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), solar products, semiconductors, battery parts, steel and other strategic industries.

Last April Yellen had warned PRC officials that the U.S. would not accept their excessive production of these cheap goods, which would then flood global markets.

During her visit, Yellen received an honorary degree from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. She said the European Union and other countries were using their own authorities to investigate potential trade remedies for Chinese EVs and other products.

She also called for Europe and the U.S. to stand together against Russian aggression and Iranian “support for terrorism”. The discussion included agreeing on a way to “unlock” the value of some $300 billion worth of frozen Russian sovereign assets to be turned over to Ukraine, which the Kremlin invaded in February 2022.

“That’s why I believe it’s vital and urgent that we collectively find a way forward to unlock the value of Russian sovereign assets immobilized in our jurisdictions for the benefit of Ukraine,” Yellen said. “This will be a key topic of conversation during G7 meetings this week.”

Later in the week, finance leaders from the G7  industrial democracies would meet in Stresa, Italy.

Reuters contributed to this report.