Shanghai. China will lower import tariffs and continue to broaden market access, President Xi Jinping said on Monday at the opening of a week-long trade expo seen as an attempt by Beijing to counter mounting criticism of its trade and business practices.
Xi also promised to accelerate opening of the education, telecommunications and cultural sectors, while protecting foreign companies’ interests and enhancing punitive enforcement for infractions of intellectual property rights.
Xi’s remarks come at a time of heightened tension between China and some of its biggest trade partners, particularly the United States, which has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods so far. China has retaliated with $110 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. goods.
The Nov. 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.
“CIIE is a major initiative by China to pro-actively open up its market to the world,” Xi said but No senior U.S. officials were set to attend the Shanghai event as reported by Reuters.
Xi said the import expo showed China’s desire to support global free trade, adding that countries of the world must pursue open policies and oppose protectionism.
He said “economic globalization is facing setbacks, multilateralism and the free trade system is under attack, factors of instability and uncertainty are numerous, and risks and obstacles are increasing.”
China expects to import $30 trillion worth of goods and $10 trillion worth of services in the next 15 years, Xi said.
China imported $1.84 trillion of goods in 2017, up 16 percent, or $255 billion, from a year earlier. Of that total, China imported about $500 billion of goods from the United States.
The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said in March that China would import $8 trillion of goods in the next five years.