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Chinas Xi promises to raise imports amid trade row with US

November 08/2018

MOSCW (MRC) - 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 designed to demonstrate goodwill amid mounting frictions with the United States and others, as per Reuters.

The November 5-10 China International Import Expo, or CIIE, brings thousands of foreign companies together with Chinese buyers in a bid to demonstrate the importing potential of the world’s second-biggest economy. In a speech that largely echoed previous promises, Xi said China would accelerate opening of the education, telecommunications and cultural sectors, while protecting foreign companies’ interests and punishing violations of intellectual property rights.

He also said he expects China to import USD30 T worth of goods and USD10 T worth of services in the next 15 yr. Last year, Xi estimated that China would import USD24 T worth of goods over the coming 15 yr. "CIIE is a major initiative by China to pro-actively open up its market to the world," Xi said.

US President Donald Trump has railed against China for what he sees as intellectual property theft, entry barriers to U.S. business and a gaping trade deficit. Foreign business groups, too, have grown weary of Chinese reform promises, and while opposing Trump’s tariffs, have longed warned that China would invite retaliation if it didn’t match the openness of its trading partners. Xi said the expo showed China’s desire to support global free trade, adding - without mentioning the United States - that countries must oppose protectionism.

He said, "Multilateralism and the free trade system is under attack, factors of instability and uncertainty are numerous, and risks and obstacles are increasing." “With the deepening development today of economic globalization, ‘the weak falling prey to the strong’ and ‘winner takes all’ are dead-end alleys,” he said.

Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics, said the speech was meaningful, if short on fresh initiatives.

"I don’t think that there were necessarily path-breaking new reforms announced by him today, but I guess I would take this as a confirmation that China is very keen to be seen as continuing to open up further and committing to that stance," he said.

China imported USD1.84 T of goods in 2017, up 16%, or USD255 B, from a year earlier. Of that total, China imported about USD130 B of goods from the United States. The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said in March that China would import USD8 T of goods in the next five years.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:petroleum products, petrochemistry, Crude oil, China, USA.
Category:General News
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