Xi to trumpet China's 'open' markets at trade forum

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing will attend the opening ceremony of the trade fair and tour the Singapore commercial pavilions

If Chinese President Xi Jinping is getting ready to make big concessions to the USA, his much anticipated speech at a Shanghai trade fair didn't show it.

"China will lower tariffs, make customs clearance more convenient, reduce institutional costs in the import sector, and accelerate the development of new business models", Xi said.

China is willing to negotiate with the US on issues of mutual concern, and push for a "mutually acceptable" resolution to their economic and trade issues, Vice President Wang Qishan said Tuesday.

Khaled Shawky, the export director for Kellogg's in Egypt, pointed out that even though they export to other markets, it is vital to understand the local consumption preferences here in China: "We are here to test the Chinese market and to know the culture of the people better".

Ma, who recently took back an earlier pledge to create a million jobs in the US-blaming the trade war launched by Donald Trump-made the comments in a panel discussion at the massive expo in Shanghai. "They shouldn't always whitewash themselves and blame others, or act like a flashlight that only exposes others but not themselves".

The trade war, which has seen both sides impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of the other's imports, is beginning to hurt China's economy and has battered Chinese shares and the yuan currency.

It remained to be seen whether Xi's latest promises would satisfy increasingly impatient trading partners. After going through 5,000 years of trials and tribulations, China is still here!

But trading partners and foreign enterprises say he is yet to put his money where his mouth is, and they are exhausted of empty promises.

Xi gave "few specific solutions that address the concerns of the foreign business community", Kenneth Jarrett, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said in an email.

The widening trade conflict between the world's two largest economies, China and the U.S., is senseless, according to Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma.

It is important to note that the United States has been ramping up allegations of intellectual property theft against various Chinese companies, most of which are state-owned. Foreign business surveys indicate the playing field is worsening as Xi champions a strong-China message not unlike Trump's "America First" platform.

"The Chinese side is ready to have discussions with the USA on issues of mutual concern and work for a solution on trade acceptable to both sides", Wang told the forum, making it clear, however, that China will hold its ground and will not agree to a disadvantageous deal.

China's initiative to expand imports is not a makeshift, but long-term consideration of embracing the world and future while promoting common development.

In an attempt to showcase its commitment to globalisation, willingness to open its market and buy more from other countries, China had chose to hold an import fair in the country.

In a time when the waves of protectionism and unilateralism are threatening global growth, the expo is expected to muster support for free trade and inject certainty to the world economy.

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