Trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum met in Detroit, Michigan, over two days to discuss issues of mutual concern. However, they walked away from the talks without agreeing on a joint statement.
The ministers tried to find common ground on supply chains, food security, semiconductors and critical minerals. But US leaders and their allies are concerned about Chinese policies that favor domestic, state-owned companies. So they have been trying to reduce their reliance on Beijing.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai described the US-China trade and economic relationship as "profoundly consequential." She said that, as the two largest economies, they need to confront their challenges "with a sense of responsibility" as they "uphold a large part of the world economy."
Another obstacle to releasing a joint statement came from disagreements about Ukraine. The Russians and Chinese objected to the proposed wording. They have also been deepening their economic ties, as tensions with the US and its allies have grown since the invasion.
Ministers from the US, Japan and 12 other countries will stay in Detroit to strengthen a different economic initiative, the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum. It was launched last year by the Biden administration to curb China's influence in that region.