Xi pledges to 'step up' opening China's markets as criticism grows

The China International Import Expo to be held at Shanghai's National Exhibition and Convention Centre, will feature over 3,000 firms from more than 130 countries and regions this year. The firms will showcase goods and services they hope

The China International Import Expo to be held at Shanghai's National Exhibition and Convention Centre, will feature over 3,000 firms from more than 130 countries and regions this year. The firms will showcase goods and services they hope

Last week, Trump threatened to expand tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth US$517bn a year ago, if his talks with Xi at the G20 summit in Argentina in late November fail.

Xi said China was expected to import US$30 trillion worth of goods and US$10 trillion worth of services in the next 15 years.

China imported 1.84 trillion dollars of goods in 2017, up 16 per cent, or 255 billion dollars, from a year earlier.

In a keynote speech, Xi vowed to increase imports, lower tariffs, reduce non-tariff barriers to trade and protect foreign intellectual property.

China is hosting the first ever import expo that is attended by hundreds of companies and participants from over 130 countries among them Kenyan horticultural farmers and traders.

For example, China has more than 140 cities with over one million inhabitants, compared to 17 such cities in the European Union (EU), 15 in Russian Federation, and 9 in the United States.

Security guards stand on duty near an entrance to the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, November 5, 2018.

With wide participation, the import expo serves as a global public good for inclusive growth.

The Chinese leader announced steps would be taken in several areas but the European Union chamber said in a strongly worded statement that much of what Xi promised was a reiteration of past statements.

Joint US-Turkish patrols finally begin in tense northern Syria area
He was referring to a Kurdish enclave taken earlier this year by Turkish troops and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters. Ankara considers the militia a terror threat and an extension of Kurdish rebels waging an insurgency within Turkey.

In another sitting, President Kenyatta met officials of Cherami China-Africa Investment Management, a firm that plans to construct a cancer treatment centre in Kenya, in partnership with the University of Nairobi.

Some Western diplomats and businesses have been quietly critical of the expo, arguing it is window dressing to what they see as Beijing's long-standing trade abuses.

The event, which has a United Kingdom delegation led by the trade secretary Liam Fox, is aimed at bolstering access to China for foreign firms but has been overshadowed by the trade spat with Donald Trump.

China wants Shanghai to be one of the world's leading global financial centers by 2020 and Xi expressed his support for the Shanghai stock indexes' technology and innovation bourse that was launched in 2015, but has had lackluster appeal.

Recent comments from President Xi reinforce a feeling it will take a lot of effort on both sides to reach a deal.

But analysts say boosting confidence and growing the country's attractiveness for investment will take more than just soundbites or massive trade shows.

In a world where "no one is self-sufficient", China's decision to uphold multilateralism and free trade is "very important" to Latin America and the rest of the world, said Barcena.

Indian pavilion at the expo showcased country's strong areas like Food and Agro Products, Pharmaceuticals, IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES), Tourism and Services Sectors to gain market access to China, an Indian Embassy press release here said.

The U.S. -China trade war is the "most stupid thing in this world," Jack Ma, the chief of Asia's most valuable public company, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said on Monday.

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