Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated China's commitment to economic openness and global trade order, as officials close the first phase of an agreement to end the trade war with the United States.
“China will give greater importance to imports. We will continue to lower institutional fees and transaction costs, ”he said in a speech at the start of a trade show Tuesday morning in Shanghai.
"We must all put the common good of humanity first, rather than putting our own interests above the common interests of all," he said.
Xi's comments are consistent with China's efforts to position itself as a defender of the global multilateral trade order as the United States is moving away from institutions such as the World Trade Organization.
Xi also said China would "open its doors only more broadly" to the world, a stance that helps counter the Trump administration's claims of protectionism.
The government has placed a greater emphasis on imports as a way to meet the needs of domestic consumers, which China relies on to drive economic growth from investments and exports.
At the same time, the import effort helps bolster the argument that China is seeking to reduce its trade surplus, especially with the United States.
In 2018, Xi said that imports of goods from China were estimated at over $ 30 trillion over the following 15 years, implying a slight addition to current annual totals.
In fact, imports contracted almost every month of this year every year, 5% less in dollar terms at the end of September than in the same period as 2018.
Xi called for deeper economic integration and said China was willing to sign upscale free trade agreements with more countries.
“We need to tear down walls, not erect walls. We need to stand firm against protectionism and unilateralism. We need to continually break down trade barriers, optimize global supply chains and promote joint market development, ”said Xi. “Economic integration is the order of the day.”
The speech came as Xi and US President Donald Trump are working to set up a “Phase One” trade deal that will make many of their problems more difficult for future negotiations.
US officials, including Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, expressed optimism about the pact, which may include increasing Chinese buying of US agricultural products, keeping its currency stable and further opening its financial market.
The China International Import Expo - now in its second year - is designed to show the country's desire to shift its economy to consumption by buying more foreign goods.
While around 63 countries are attending the event, including French President Emmanuel Macron, the United States and most other Western nations are sending lower or no level delegations.
While the first CIIE has produced hundreds of deals and deals, especially in the energy sector, few have come to fruition, according to a report released Monday by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. Half of the surveyed attendees at the expo were able to do business last year, and many saw “no follow up” as their partners failed to meet their obligations, according to the report.
"We hope this year's event will be complemented by concrete measures to further facilitate market opening and increase foreign investment, not empty promises we have heard many times before," said Carlo D'Andrea, vice-president of the Chamber. European