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Xi Renews Vows to Open China Economy amid US Trade Dispute

President Xi Jinping renewed his vows Tuesday to open China economy further amid a burning trade dispute with the United States.

In his first public comments since the two nations swerved to a trade war, the president presented China as a steady, globalizing force.  The country seeks to partner with countries rather than manipulate them. He did not mention the actions of the US, but the contrast was clear.

a factory worker working on a production line in a factory in china
China will liberalize automobile investment, reduce tariffs on cars, and allow greater access to financial markets.

“Openness versus isolation and progress versus retrogression, humanity has a major choice to make,” Xi said at the Boao Forum for Asia held on the tropical southern island of Hainan. “The trend of peace and cooperation is moving forward and a Cold War mentality and zero-sum game are outdated.”

He said China will take measures to liberalize automobile investment, reduce tariffs on cars this year, protect intellectual property, and allow greater access to financial markets. All areas have been high on the list of demands by Washington.

“We want the outcomes of our opening-up efforts to deliver benefits as soon as possible to all enterprises and people in China and around the world,” Xi said.

Pledging a “new phase of opening up”, Xi told said that he “does not seek a trade surplus.” Instead, he hopes to increase imports.

“Economic globalization is an irreversible trend of the time,” Xi told the Boao Forum for Asia.

Xi tried to put the China economy as a defender of free trade and cooperation, despite its status as the most-closed major economy. It was a response to Trump’s “America First” calls for import restrictions and trade deals that are more favorable to the US.

“The door of China’s opening up will not close, it will only open wider and wider.” Xi’s speech came two days after Trump suggested he saw an end to the trade dispute.

 Xi’s Opening of China Economy win Praises from Trump

Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he was “very thankful for President Xi of China’s kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers… also, his enlightenment on intellectual property and technology transfers. We will make great progress together!”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Xi’s speech was “a very good sign of moving in the right direction.” However, “we want to see concrete steps and concrete action” from China.

Talks between the 2 countries broke down last week after the US demanded actions to curtail China’s support high-tech industries. The words of Xi helped bring risk appetite back to markets, and shares rose from Sydney to New York.

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