Xi addresses keynote speech at China International Import Expo... emphasizes free trade

The China International Import Expo, slated to be held annually will run for six days from Nov 5 to 10

China's Xi promises market opening as import fair begins

But in opening a high-profile import expo in Shanghai he provided no response to US and European complaints about technology policy and curbs on foreign business.

"I would like to encourage more firms to establish joint ventures with Kenyan entrepreneurs and to increase the content of locally produced goods and services in their projects and industries", he said in Shanghai where he gave a keynote address at the inaugural China International Import Expo.

The comments are seen as a reference to the United States, with which China is fighting a trade war.

But none addresses US complaints about its technology policy that prompted Trump to impose penalty tariffs of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports.

"This provides huge opportunity to increase our exports to China which is further supported by the tariff war between United States and China", Sahai added.

Protectionism will "result in trade stagnation" and "hurt the global economy", Xi said, as China and the United States under President Donald Trump are engaged in tit-for-tat rounds of punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's imports.

The European Union, which shares USA concerns over China's trade practices if not Trump's tariff strategy to address them, on Thursday called on China to take concrete steps to further open its market to foreign firms and provide a level playing field, adding that it would not sign up to any political statement at the forum.

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In a concrete sign of the unfreezing, the U.S. State Department said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will take part in diplomatic and security talks later this week in Washington. He added that China would not stop efforts to promote an open world economy and will be a stable engine of global growth.

D'Andrea said the expo will help countries reduce their trade deficits with China.

About 3,600 companies from more than 170 nations, regions and worldwide groups are taking part in the country's first national-level expo for imports, the Chinese government said.

"The goal of importing $40 trillion of goods and services in the next 15 years is not ambitious", Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at research firm Oxford Economics, told Caixin. Government ministers from several other countries were also coming. "It's going to be a huge pain to a lot of businesses, but it's also going to be a good opportunity for a lot of consumers".

Jarrett noted that Xi promised better protection of foreign patents and other intellectual property, which companies complain are copied or improperly used by Chinese rivals.

Foreign business surveys indicate the playing field is worsening as Xi champions a strong-China message not unlike Trump's "America First" platform. He said China's $12 trillion-a-year economy is "a sea, not a small pond" and can withstand shocks. "However, unless some of the protectionist trade barriers now in place are changed, it won't make much difference either way". "Facing the future, China will always be here".

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