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Former treasury secretary on Biden’s financial plans, U.S.-China competitors 

President Joe Biden’s plans to bolster the U.S. economic system will assist the nation compete with China’s huge Belt and Street Initiative, former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew mentioned on Wednesday.

The Belt and Street Initiative is China’s formidable program to construct bodily and digital infrastructure that connects a whole bunch of nations from Asia to the Center East, Africa and Europe. Many critics contemplate it Chinese language President Xi Jinping’s signature overseas coverage to increase his nation’s international affect.

Lew, who was Treasury secretary from 2013 to 2017 underneath former President Barack Obama, identified that China’s Belt and Street Initiative has gained traction in the previous few years. On the identical time, the U.S. underneath former President Donald Trump retreated from the world stage, he mentioned.

President Joe Biden speaks within the Eisenhower Govt Workplace Constructing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

Leigh Vogel | Bloomberg | Getty Photos

“The problem we now have is to have a look at our home challenges and to have a look at the locations the place we’re very robust and must be stronger,” Lew instructed CNBC’s “Squawk Field Asia.” He added that the U.S. is powerful in expertise and innovation, training, and remaining open to expertise from around the globe.

“We then look forward to the challenges of the long run … we now have to have interaction on the planet, we now have to have interaction with different international locations, working collectively. And you may’t say we’re not going to be there after which object when another person reveals up,” mentioned Lew.

Lew’s feedback got here as Biden has held conferences with Democratic and Republican members of Congress to debate his proposed $2 trillion infrastructure and financial restoration package deal.

The plan goals to rebuild U.S. infrastructure together with roads, broadband and utilities, in addition to put money into jobs coaching and analysis and growth.

U.S. and China working collectively

U.S.-China relations have remained rocky since Biden was inaugurated in January.

The 2 international locations have clashed on points starting from the autonomy of Hong Kong to alleged human rights abuses in China’s northwestern area of Xinjiang.

Regardless of their variations, Lew mentioned there are lots of areas the place the U.S. and China can work collectively. These areas embody local weather change, well being care and challenges with Iran and North Korea, mentioned the previous Treasury secretary.

“I feel it is a mistake to be on a path the place both aspect is searching for confrontation. It is a mistake to disclaim that variations exist and there is a want to have interaction, making variations clear, but additionally to search for areas the place we are able to work collectively,” Lew mentioned.

“I am hoping that issues just like the conversations on local weather are the start of a gap for discussions between our two international locations,” he added.

Chinese language state media mentioned Wednesday that Xi will give a speech on Thursday by way of video convention on the international leaders local weather summit hosted by Biden.  

Many additionally anticipate the leaders of the world’s two largest economies — and the most important carbon polluters — to have their first assembly on the sidelines of the summit.

— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk and Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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