At the opening ceremony of China's first import expo, President Xi Jinping says the government will continue to cut tariffs, establish Hainan free trade port and speed up trade negotiations with foreign partners. He asked the audience to be “absolutely optimistic” about China’s economic prospects.
Xi pledged China's imports of goods and services would top $3trn and $1trn, respectively, by 2033, from about $1.7trn and $450bn last year
PRESIDENT Xi Jinping has reaffirmed his support for a more globalised world and his commitment to a further opening of China’s economy.
Unveiling the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Mr Xi said his administration would keep acting as “an important promoter” of free trade.
“China will always be a stable engine for the world’s economic growth,’’ he said. ``China will always be a large energetic market for every country to explore business opportunities; China will always be an active contributor to global governance reforms.’’
The six-day event has attracted more than 400,000 global buyers that can help China reduce its massive trade surplus.
It comes as the country is locked in a trade war with the US, which has been criticising Beijing for its predatory trade policies.
Mr Xi said the initiative to expand imports is part of a long-term thinking that sets out to establish “mutual development” in the world.
To achieve that goal, he set out a number of plans, including a further reduction of tariffs and easing of foreign capital investment controls.
He pledged the country’s imported goods and services would reach $3trn and $1trn, respectively, in 15 years, from about $1.7trn and $450bn in 2017.
A further liberalisation of China’s Free Trade Zones, especially the newly established one in Hainan, was also on the to-do list.
Moreover, Mr Xi said China hoped to speed up negotiations of its proposed international partnerships, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the EU-China Investment Agreement, Sino-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, as well as the Belt and Road Initiative.
As a result, he asked the audience to be “absolutely optimistic” about China’s economic prospects, as the country has plenty of “favourable conditions” to maintain sustainable and healthy growth.
The top figure in China also took a veiled swipe at the policies of isolationism and unilateralism advocated by some political leaders elsewhere.
“Economic globalisation is an irreversible historical trend. By historical trend, I mean it will not be altered by the will of any individual,” he said. “Every country should take a clear-cut stand against isolationism and unilateralism.’’