Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US and South Korea should deepen their trade ties to avoid working with countries that use their market positions to gain an unfair advantage, calling China by name.
“We cannot allow countries like China to use their market position in key commodities, technologies or products to disrupt our economy or exert unwanted geopolitical influence,” Yellen said in remarks prepared for delivery Monday, according to excerpts provided by the Treasury Department.
She is set to give the speech at an LG Corp. factory in South Korea. LG in April announced plans to build a $1.4 billion battery plant in Queen Creek, Arizona.
Yellen represented the US at the Group of 20 finance ministers’ meetings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, and made stops in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea. She avoided visiting China but had a call with the Chinese vice premier earlier in the month.
Yellen has criticized China’s economic relationship with Russia, urging the Asian superpower to use its “special relationship with Russia” to persuade Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine.
China “has directed significant resources to seek a dominant position in the manufacture of certain advanced technologies, including semiconductors, while employing a variety of unfair trade practices to achieve this position,” he said in his prepared speech.
Citing “unfair Chinese practices that harm our national security interests,” Yellen calls on countries to engage in “hosting friends” as a means of reducing economic risks to participating economies.
Friend-shoreing, which Yellen has mentioned in several speeches, refers to countries with shared values agreeing to business practices that encourage manufacturing and reduce risks to supply chains.
The global economy has been devastated by the impacts of the war in Ukraine and the lockdowns caused by COVID-19. Skyrocketing energy costs and high inflation have touched every part of the world.
The Indo-Pacific region is seeing this play out in Sri Lanka, which is experiencing the island nation’s worst economic crisis.
Yellen will make her remarks ahead of a Tuesday meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to wrap up her first trip as treasury secretary to the Indo-Pacific region.
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