Xi pledges to 'step up' opening China's markets as criticism grows

The China International Import Expo to be held at Shanghai's National Exhibition and Convention Centre, will feature over 3,000 firms from more than 130 countries and regions this year. The firms will showcase goods and services they hope

China's Xi promises market opening as import fair begins

"We can't let the CEOs of European companies in China to set up their businesses on a foundation of hope that reform will come".

Last week, Mr. Trump and Xi had what China's foreign ministry called an "extremely positive" phone conversation.

The United States and China are locked in a battle over trade, with Trump complaining about the trade gap between the two countries and accusing China of stealing intellectual property and imposing policies that make it more hard for US companies to access the Chinese market.

U.S. President Donald Trump has railed against China for what he sees as intellectual property theft, entry barriers to U.S. business and a gaping U.S. trade deficit.

Without naming the U.S., Xi reprimanded countries who criticized the policies of others while failing to sort out their own problems and warned that aggressive economic policies that follow "the law of the jungle" will eventually hit a "dead end".

Decrying "protectionism", "isolationism" and confrontation, Mr Xi said countries should fix their own houses before targeting others. "They shouldn't always paint themselves (as perfect) and point their fingers at others, always shining a spotlight on others but not themselves".

Experts say the week-long expo is also a message by China that, as the buying power of its 1.4 billion people grows, trading partners will need to work with Beijing if they want a piece of that import market. A figure of $30 trillion over 15 years would amount to just $2 trillion a year.

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

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Washington has snubbed the gathering by not sending high-level representation, instead calling on China to change "unfair" trade practices. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), for example, has accused China of stealing US intellectual property and praised Trump's tariffs.

As China has been lambasted for stealing technology rather than developing it independently, Xi also committed to implementing measures to protect intellectual property rights.

The shopping extravaganza, nicknamed Singles' Day, has in recent years placed emphasis on cross-border e-commerce, where customers in China are able to enjoy hefty discounts on foreign-branded products.

The China International Import Expo is part of official efforts to defuse trade tension while resisting pressure to roll back industry plans that Washington, Europe, Japan and other governments say violate its market-opening obligations.

The European Union, which shares USA concerns over China's trade practices if not Trump's tariff strategy to address them, on Thursday called for China to take concrete steps to further open its market to foreign firms and provide a level playing field, adding that it would not sign up to any political statement at the forum. "Now that it is the world's second-largest economy, China can afford to open its doors all the way".

China has a massive trade deficit with nearly every country in the world, with the value of its exports far exceeding the value of its imports.

FIEO is the lead agency for India pavilion at the fair.

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