Xi Jinping’s defence of globalisation and open markets: key takeaways from Chinese leader’s speech to Boao Forum

by Sarah Zheng / April 10, 2018 / SCMP

Chinese President Xi Jinping committed to further opening up China’s markets as he sought to portray the country as a leading defender of globalisation.

His pledges were made in a speech to the Boao Forum for Asia on Tuesday, which was delivered against a backdrop of rising trade tensions with the United States, and it was widely hoped that his remarks would help to calm tensions.

Xi made no direct reference to US President Donald Trump in his address, but invoked various Chinese sayings and metaphors to deliver a strong defence of China’s economic openness and commitment to further reforms. Here the major takeaways from his speech, which was covered live here.

Market opening and easier access for foreign investors

Xi ushered in a “new phase of opening up,” making broad commitments to further liberalise China’s economy such as by “significantly broadening” market access, easing restrictions on foreign firms, lowering import tariffs, and creating a more attractive investment environment.

The Chinese leader restated a number of previous comments and insisted he would ensure that major reforms would be implemented, including earlier promises to open up China’s insurance and financial sectors. He also stressed that he would seek to open more areas of cooperation.

He hinted at one point that China would reform its motor industry to allow foreign car makers to have wholly owned factories in China, which would be good news for companies such as Tesla.

In October, the US company reportedly reached a deal with the Shanghai government to set up its own factory in the city’s free-trade zone, a departure from the practice requiring foreign companies to form joint domestic ventures.

He also suggested that tariffs on car imports could be lowered – a day after Trump had complained on Twitter about the “stupid” imbalance between America’s 2.5 per cent levy on car imports compared with China’s 25 percent. Read more…


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