China's president pledges more openness and free trade[/rtl]
[rtl]Date: 2019/11/5 11:42 • 58 times read[/rtl]
BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Qi Jinping vowed on Tuesday to open up more in the Chinese economy, saying the world should "tear down walls" at a trade fair in Shanghai.
Chi spoke to an audience including French President Emmanuel Macron, who was at the forefront of the opening of the China International Imports Fair, which Beijing organizes annually to show its willingness to liberalize its enormous markets, amid criticism that it surrounded these markets with some form of protection.
He said the international community "should continue to demolish the walls rather than build them, firmly reject protectionism and unilateralism, and constantly reduce trade barriers."
However, Qi Jinping did not elaborate, so he is unlikely to calm foreign critics who accuse China of pursuing protectionist measures and failing to implement reforms it has promised.
As China and the United States continue to make efforts to sign a partial trade agreement announced last month, the Chinese president has avoided addressing the issue of retaliatory tariffs with the United States.
The contrast between Che's speech today and his speech last year was apparent at the height of the confrontation with Washington, when he addressed the US administration, criticizing "protectionism", "isolationism" and "jungle law," without naming the United States in particular.
In remarks after Chi, Macron complained that the trade war between the United States and China "only creates losers" and adversely affects global growth.
He hoped that the two giant economic powers would be able to reach an agreement that "preserves the interests" of other trading partners, led by the European Union.
Macron denounced "unilateral steps and the use of cartoons as a weapon", without naming Trump directly. But he also said the opening of Chinese markets should be "faster and more transparent."
At a summit in Bangkok, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he feared that cheap Chinese goods could flow into Indian markets, leading to "an unsustainable trade deficit."
The Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership Agreement was supposed to include several Asian countries, 30 percent of global gross domestic product, and about half of the world's population.
But in Shanghai he hoped "the agreement will be signed and come into force soon."
He also said China would be "happy" to reach free trade agreements with other countries, adding that his country's officials would speed up negotiations on an investment agreement with the EU, as well as another with Japan and South Korea.