Chinese President Xi Jinping Monday said that the country will lower import tariffs and take further steps to open up its economy. “China will not close its door to the world and will only become more and more open,” China President Xi Jinping said while throwing open the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. He added that China would not stop efforts to promote an open world economy and will be a stable engine of global growth.
“It is our sincere commitment to open the Chinese market,” Xi said. He added that the imports would be increased cutting costs for importers and improving consumer spending power.
In an attempt to showcase its commitment to globalisation, willingness to open its market and buy more from other countries, China had decided to hold an import fair in the country. The China International Import Expo (CIIE) is the brainchild of President Xi and has been promoted as the Chinese government’s most significant event of this year.
Chinese authorities have claimed that over 3,000 companies from over 130 countries are participating in the expo. The five day event is being held at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai, which is spread over a total area of 2,70,000 square meters. Participating countries have put on display a variety of products from agricultural products to consumer goods.
China has a massive trade deficit with almost every country in the world, with the value of its exports far exceeding the value of its imports. China has been criticised for placing high trade barriers which makes it untenable for other countries to access its market.
President Xi claimed that the country will buy goods worth over $30 trillion from other countries over the next 15 years, and said the country was committed to globalisation.
Without naming the United States, Xi said that the global free trade system was “under attack”. He called for countries to resist trade protectionism and unilateralism, and strengthen international coordination of macroeconomic policies to reduce negative effects on other nations’ economies.
“Economic globalization is facing setbacks, multilateralism and the free trade system is under attack, factors of instability and uncertainty are numerous, and risks and obstacles are increasing,” President Xi said in his speech.
He also said that he expects China to import $30 trillion worth of goods and $10 trillion worth of services in the next 15 years.
“Actively expanding imports is not a temporary measure of China, but it’s long-term, future-oriented strategy to promote the joint development of the world’s nations,” Xi said.
He added that China will further lower tariffs and make it easier for imported goods to clear customs, without elaborating.
Assessing concerns of global firms about the threat of intellectual property right violations taking place in China, Xi said that China will safeguard the IPR rights of foreign companies and “firmly punish behavior that encroaches on the lawful rights and interests of foreign companies.”
Through the expo China is trying to convey an image that it is not only interested in importing away materials and crude oil from other countries but also consumer products that in particular appeal to the country’s 400 million “middle-income” residents.
Xi acknowledged some Chinese industries face “growing risks” but said efforts to shore up growth are already paying off. He said China’s $12 trillion-a-year economy is “a sea, not a small pond” and can withstand shocks.
“A storm can overturn a small pond, but not a sea,” he said. “After more than 5,000 years of hardship, China is still here. Facing the future, China will always be here.”