Xi calls for more im­ports and a more ‘open econ­omy’

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Bei­jing, China – Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has called for an in­crease in im­ports and fewer re­stric­tions for for­eign in­vestors as Bei­jing comes un­der pres­sure from the US and Europe to pro­vide a more level play­ing field for com­pa­nies in the coun­try.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has railed against China’s mas­sive trade sur­plus while the Euro­pean Union and US com­pa­nies have com­plained about a lack of ac­cess to the huge mar­ket.

Speak­ing to a Com­mu­nist Party com­mit­tee on fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic af­fairs, Jin­ping called for ‘ex­pand­ing im­ports while sta­bil­is­ing ex­ports’, state-run me­dia re­ported on Tues­day.

China’s lead­ers try­ing to trans­form the econ­omy from a re­liance on ex­ports and state in­vest­ment to one driven by do­mes­tic de­mand, though that has led to a slow­down in growth to 26 year lows.

Jin­ping also said ‘an open econ­omy’ with fewer re­stric­tions to for­eign ac­cess will serve to ‘pro­mote bal­ance of pay­ment un­der the cur­rent ac­count’, ac­cord­ing to the China Daily.

The large US trade deficit with China was a ma­jor talk­ing point for Trump dur­ing last year’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, when he claimed Bei­jing had ‘stolen’ mil­lions of jobs from Amer­i­cans.

He also ac­cused China of ma­nip­u­lat­ing its cur­rency to sup­port its ex­ports - a charge he has dropped since tak­ing of­fice in Jan­uary.

In his state­ment on Mon­day, Jin­ping called for mea­sures to lib­er­alise trade and sim­plify im­port pro­ce­dures while re­duc­ing tar­iffs on cer­tain con­sumer prod­ucts.

He stressed keep­ing the yuan cur­rency’s value ‘ba­si­cally sta­ble at a rea­son­able and bal­anced level’, and steadily push­ing it ‘to be­come an in­ter­na­tional cur­rency’, Xinhua state news agency re­ported.

At the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos, Switzer­land, at the start of the year, Jin­ping stood out as a de­fender of free trade and glob­al­i­sa­tion in the face of Trump’s pro­tec­tion­ist rhetoric. But for­eign firms in China have long pointed out the ob­sta­cles to do­ing busi­ness in the coun­try, where they say do­mes­tic com­pa­nies en­joy dis­tinct ad­van­tages.

“A mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment fea­tur­ing fair play should be cre­ated in the coun­try,” Jin­ping said in his state­ment, not­ing that “Na­tional treat­ment in laws and poli­cies should be granted to for­eign­funded com­pa­nies af­ter they en­ter the mar­ket.”

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping

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