China's Xi promises market opening as import fair begins

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Beijing, Nov 5 China's imported goods and services are set to exceed Dollars 40 trillion in the next 15 years, President Xi Jinping pledged Monday as he kicked off a major import fair in which India and 80 other countries are participating.

In October, Ma told World Trade Organization delegates that the Geneva-based body has come under threat from Trump's efforts to recast the global trading system in a way that he says will be more balanced toward the U.S. The American president has this year targeted allies and adversaries alike, threatening tariffs on all of China's exports, proposing levies on European car-makers and saying he could leave the WTO, which he has described as "unfair".

In his address to the China Import Expo, an event created by Beijing to signal its intentions to increase its business with the rest of the world, Xi said China's promise to buy more products and services from overseas is "not a temporary arrangement but a long-term commitment" and that the fair would become an annual event.

China would "foster a world-class business environment" and its doors will open "ever wider", he said.

But he also pushed back at foreign pressure in comments clearly aimed at Donald Trump, who has started a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

"They should not just point fingers at others to gloss over their own problems", Xi said.

"They should not hold a flashlight in hand, doing nothing but highlighting the weaknesses of others and not their own".

More than 3,000 companies from over 130 countries have confirmed participation in the enterprise and business exhibitions at the expo, with a total booth area of 270,000 square metres, state-run China Daily reported.

"Nobody can stop the free trade", he said.

In a speech at Davos almost two years ago, he presented China as a beacon of globalisation, in a counterpoint to Trump.

But trading partners and foreign enterprises say he is yet to put his money where his mouth is, and they are exhausted of empty promises.

Xi spoke Monday at the China International Import Expo, which is being attended by 3,600 companies and foreign leaders including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russian Federation.

"It is important for us therefore to correct the existing trade imbalance to enable a fair share of the benefits of trade", he said.

China ranks 59th out of 62 countries on openness to foreign direct investment, according to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranking.

The import expo, which is touted to be an annual affair, is widely believed to be a sign of the country's willingness to allow more imports and reduce surpluses with its trade partners. If Beijing fails to uplift the duties on United States imports, Trump said he would slap tariffs on the remainder of China's $500 billion-plus exports.

Washington has snubbed the gathering by not sending high-level representation. Find us on Facebook too!

Both are seen as eyeing new ways into China's giant market.

Emphasing on the significance of economic globalisation, he added, "Economic globalisation is an irreversible historical trend and provides strong momentum for the world economic development". Evidence of this is the launch of the inaugural import expo.

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