As U.S. and Chinese Officials Meet, Businesses Temper Their Hopes

Sam Altman, the leader of OpenAI, which makes the ChatGPT chatbot, appeared virtually at a conference in Beijing this month, saying American and Chinese researchers should continue to work together to counter the risks of artificial intelligence.

The tech industry, which has forged lucrative relationships with Chinese manufacturers and consumers, has warily watched Washington’s aggressive approach to China. While industry groups acknowledge the importance of moves to safeguard national security, they have urged the Biden administration to carefully calibrate its actions.

Wendy Cutler, a former diplomat and trade negotiator who is now vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute, said the United States and China might announce some small steps forward at the end of the meetings. The governments might agree, she said, to increase the paltry number of flights between their countries or the visas they are issuing to foreign visitors.

But both sides will have plenty of grievances to air, Ms. Cutler said. Chinese officials are likely to complain about U.S. tariffs on goods made in China and restrictions on U.S. firms selling coveted chip technology to China. American officials may highlight China’s deteriorating business environment and its recent move to bar companies that handle critical information from buying microchips made by the U.S. company Micron.

“I’m not expecting any breakthroughs, particularly on the economic front,” Ms. Cutler said, adding, “Neither side will want to be smiling.”

American officials hope Mr. Blinken’s visit paves the way for more cooperation, including on issues like climate change and the restructuring the debt loads of developing countries. Other officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, are considering visits to China this year, and Mr. Xi and President Biden may meet directly at either the Group of 20 meetings in Delhi in September or an Asia-Pacific economic meeting in San Francisco in November.

In recent months, Biden officials have tried to mend the rift between the countries by arguing for a more “constructive” relationship. They have echoed European officials in saying their desire is for “de-risking and diversifying” their economic relationships with China, not “decoupling.”

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