Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s dining experiences in China captivates internet

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s dining experiences in China captivates internetTreasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s dining experiences in China captivates internet
via CNBC Television, Associated Press
Michelle De Pacina
April 8, 2024
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s visit to China for official meetings has become a topic of widespread interest due to her viral dining experiences.
Key points:
  • When Yellen first visited Beijing last July, she made headlines for unknowingly consuming psychedelic mushrooms at a Yunnan restaurant. “There was a delicious mushroom dish. I was not aware that these mushrooms had hallucinogenic properties. I learned that later,” she previously told CNN
  • This experience led to a viral sensation dubbed “Mushroom-gate.” As a result, the restaurant has memorialized her visit by dedicating a part of its menu, where diners can order what Yellen inadvertently ate. 
  • The 77-year-old official discussed economic tensions between the U.S. and China and emphasized mutual cooperation during her meeting with Chinese officials. 
The details:
  • Yellen’s culinary adventures in China have captivated both Americans and Chinese. Her latest visit has garnered attention from the highest ranks of Chinese politicians, who acknowledge her popularity in the culinary scene.
  • Ahead of her bilateral meetings, she dined using chopsticks with the U.S. ambassador and other officials at Tao Tao Ju, an iconic Guangzhou restaurant established in 1880. 
  • In Beijing, Yellen visited Lao Chuan Ban, a renowned Sichuan restaurant, and had lunch with Mayor Yin Yong at the Beijing International Hotel. On her final night in China, Yellen went to Jing-A Brewing Co., where she enjoyed a beer brewed with American hops.
  • In addition to her culinary adventures abroad, Yellen frequently indulges in fast food and local eateries during domestic trips in the U.S., attracting media attention. One notable instance was her visit to In-N-Out burger in San Francisco last November before meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
About the bilateral meetings: 
  • Yellen, who met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, noted progress in the U.S.-China relations, saying, “Over the past year, we have put our bilateral relationship on more stable footing.”  
  • But Yellen also acknowledged significant differences that remain, with China urging the U.S. to avoid politicizing economic and trade issues after the U.S. previously restricted China’s access to advanced semiconductors and other technology. 
  • Yellen mainly addressed concerns regarding trade practices that disadvantage American workers and companies. She issued a warning, stating that the U.S. would not tolerate new industries being harmed by Chinese imports. 
  • Although she refrained from threatening new tariffs or trade actions, Yellen criticized Beijing’s massive state support for industries such as electric vehicles, batteries and solar panels, which have created excess factory capacity and threatens companies globally. 
  • She emphasized that the flooding of global markets with artificially cheap Chinese products undermines the competitiveness of American and foreign firms. Yellen noted that U.S. concerns about excess industrial capacity were shared by European allies, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines and other emerging markets.
  • Both countries have reportedly agreed to intensify exchanges on economic growth and on combating money laundering.
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