Uhuru pushes for more trade with China during Shanghai trip

Eileen GuzmanNov 06, 2018

President Xi Jinping renewed a pledge to increase China's imports, lower trade barriers, and strengthen protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) while also lashing out at countries who point their fingers at Beijing's policies without doing anything to improve their own business environment.

"China will not close its door to the world and will only become more and more open", China President Xi Jinping said while throwing open the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

In a speech to a VIP audience, Xi said further opening to imports is a "sincere commitment" by Beijing.

Xi said the import expo showed China's desire to support global free trade, adding - without mentioning the United States - that countries of the world must pursue open policies and oppose protectionism.

China is using the Expo to showcase its willingness to open up its huge market to other countries.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox will attend China's biggest international import show alongside a 50-strong United Kingdom business delegation.

Twelve countries were named "guests of honour" at the trade fair, including the UK, Russia, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa, and Vietnam.

The Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councilor Wang Yi, said in March that China would import $8 trillion of goods in the next five years. Although the event is meant to gather foreign companies to woo the Chinese consumer, global brands from Adidas to Walmart, Procter & Gamble to Uniqlo, are sending only country heads - or no senior executives at all.

Ministries, local governments and central enterprises across the country have formed about 40 trading groups, together with hundreds of thousands of buyers.

Xi said China would "step up" efforts to stimulate imports, lower tariffs, ease customs clearance procedures, and implement harsh punishments for intellectual property infringements.

In speeches made over the last two months, Ma has said that the USA will "suffer more" from the dispute, stating that the U.S. economy had benefited from its trade relationship with China.

"Overall, favorable conditions are in place for the long-term, healthy and steady growth of the Chinese economy", Xi said.

Most reactions urge against taking more Chinese loans. "Facing the future, China will always be here". But it is "unlikely to have much impact" on its politically sensitive trade balance with the United States.

Chinese authorities have claimed that over 3,000 companies from over 130 countries are participating in the expo.

Trump has railed against China over intellectual property theft, entry barriers to USA business and a gaping trade deficit, which US data showed reached a record $40.2 billion in September.

Yet the U.S. government mostly stayed away, even though China said Trump voiced support for the expo in a call with Xi last week.

The Shanghai expo also gives Beijing a chance to fix its image as a positive for global development following complaints "Belt and Road" leaves host countries with too much debt, while too little work goes to local companies. Kenya and other nations have run into trouble repaying Chinese loans.

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