US senators to seek Xi meeting, discuss Micron on China visit

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WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of US senators hopes to meet with President Xi Jinping on a visit to China next week, Senator Mike Crapo said. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his Republican colleague will also raise the issue of Micron Technology’s ability to do business in the country, where the company faces an ongoing probe by the government’s cyber-security administration, according to people familiar with the preparations. 

They also plan to meet with the US business community in Shanghai, among other groups, and discuss concerns about the investment climate for US companies, the people said, asking not to be identified to discuss details of the visit that are not yet public. 

“The purpose is for us to engage with them, just like you’ve seen some of the senior administration officials, on the broad array of issues that we have,” Mr Crapo said in an interview, declining to comment on specific matters the senators will discuss.

“We really believe that the more engagement we have, the more opportunity and potential there is to resolve conflict,” he said.

Mr Crapo said that while they intend to meet with Mr Xi, a meeting has not been confirmed.

Micron, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, is currently building a major chip fabrication plant in upstate New York, making its business issues home state concerns for both Mr Crapo and Mr Schumer, who represent those states.

Micron has said the cyber probe has put half of its China sales at risk. 

Mr Schumer’s office has previously confirmed that he was planning a trip to China, South Korea and Japan, but has not released details.

A Micron spokesperson declined to comment on the trip.

The senators’ trip follows several China visits by high-level officials in President Joe Biden’s administration seeking to smooth ties after months of escalating tensions.

The United States is hoping to open the door to a potential November meeting between Mr Biden and Mr Xi at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, but Beijing has not confirmed yet whether the Chinese leader will attend.

The White House is aware of the senators’ trip plans and encouraged them to go, people familiar with the matter said.

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council did not respond to a request for comment.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo raised issues on behalf of Micron and other American firms when she visited China in August. BLOOMBERG

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