Xi Jinping pledges to 'open door wide' to global trade

Xi Jinping pledges to 'open door wide' to global trade

Xi Jinping pledges to 'open door wide' to global trade

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised on Monday to lower tariffs, broaden market access and import more from overseas at the start of a trade expo created to demonstrate goodwill amid mounting frictions with the United States and others.

The European Union, which shares U.S. complaints of Chinese trade policy although it is against the Trump administration's hardball tactics of applying tariffs, has called for Beijing to open its market.

He also said China would further develop Hainan as a free-trade port, prompting shares of companies based in the southern province to jump.

Organisers of the event say more than 3,000 foreign companies from 130 countries including the United States, Europe and across Asia will put their products on display for potential Chinese buyers at the China International Import Expo.

While in China, President Uhuru is expected to sign a horticulture trade deal which will allow Kenya to export fresh produce such as avocados, cashew nuts and mangoes to China.

In an interview with Xinhua on Thursday, the head of trade at Standard Bank Vinod Madhavan said the shift to consumption-led growth in China comes at an opportune time for Africa. With India's exports of $13.33 billion, the trade balance is highly in favor of China.

As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up policy, the Asian power, by holding the expo for imports, will try to brush aside criticism that Chinese markets are closed given that they are mainly controlled by the government.

As part of broader efforts to encourage innovation, a key plank of government policy, Xi announced that the Shanghai stock exchange will set up a board for high-tech companies which will trial a new registration-based Initial Public Offering system that has always been discussed by regulators.

In his remarks, Mr Xi said he would stimulate imports, lower tariffs, ease customs clearance procedures and implement harsh punishments for intellectual property infringements - a key complaint of the US.

Prime ministers and other officials from Russian, Vietnam, Egypt and 15 other countries are on the guest list, while the USA has no plans to send a high-level envoy. Government ministers from several other countries were also coming, but no senior U.S. officials were set to attend. Government ministers from several other countries were also coming.

China expects to import $30-trillion worth of goods and $10-trillion worth of services in the next 15 years, Xi said. The Swiss government said in a statement to Reuters on Sunday that his visit had never been confirmed, and that Secretary of State Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch would represent Switzerland.

But, without naming the U.S. directly, Mr Xi also took issue with the way Mr Trump had handled the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Exhibitors from around 140 countries and regions will be on hand, including 404 from Japan, the most of any country. Tiny São Tomé is selling package holidays.

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