US Commerce chief Raimondo to meet Chinese counterpart Wang during APEC

By David Lawder

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The commerce chiefs of the United States and China will meet at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum this week, one of a series of cabinet-level engagements surrounding high-stakes talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A U.S. Commerce Department spokesperson confirmed that U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao planned to meet but was not able to provide details and timing.

Raimondo is participating in ministerial meetings for APEC and the Biden administration's Indo-Pacific Economic Framework discussions.

Biden and Xi are expected to meet in the San Francisco Bay area on Wednesday in an effort to calm a tense relationship between the world's two largest economies.

Raimondo first mentioned the meeting with Wang, their third in person in less than six months, in an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday.

She said it was time to "ratchet down the temperature" of the U.S.-China relationship. She added that she would not "sugarcoat anything, not to pretend that this isn't a great competition, but to be direct and be honest and also to ... responsibly manage this relationship."

Her meeting with Wang follows U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's meetings last week with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng, during which the two sides agreed to "intensify communication"- including with a return trip for Yellen to China next year.

Raimondo has a more difficult China portfolio than Yellen, as Commerce oversees contentious U.S. export controls on advanced semiconductors and chip manufacturing equipment, and other sensitive technologies that could have military applications. She said there can be "no negotiation" over these.

During her visit to Beijing in late August, during which she met with Wang, Raimondo agreed to set up a dialogue with Chinese officials on export controls to avoid misunderstandings about the measures.

She also said during the trip that U.S. businesses had told her that China was becoming "uninvestible" for U.S. firms. She repeated the comment to CNN, citing China's new anti-espionage law, unpredictable regulations and government raids on U.S. firms.

(Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Grant McCool)