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Xi promises greater access to China, warns against the ‘Cold War mentality & # 39;

BOAO, China-Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to foreign companies greater access to China's financial and manufacturing sectors, committing to Beijing's commitment to further economic liberalization amid growing trade tensions with the United States [19659003]. Mr. Xi said on Tuesday there are plans to accelerate access to the insurance sector, expand the permitted commercial scope for foreign financial institutions and reduce tariffs on imported cars and property limits for foreign car companies.

Throughout his 40-year minute, Mr. Xi never mentioned the trade friction with the United States or President Donald Trump. His comments seemed designed to offer some political initiatives, if not concessions, while contrasting with President Trump's agenda "America First" and portraying China as a constant global partner committed to international trade order.

"In a world that aspires to peace and development, the Cold War and the zero-sum mentality are even more out of place." Mr. Xi told the Boao Forum, a meeting of business and political leaders backed by the government on the tropical island of Hainan.

self on a pedestal or trying to immunize itself from adverse events will not get anywhere, "he said.

Washington and Beijing have become a source of turbulence in financial markets in recent weeks and have expressed his concern about a direct trade war that could drag down the global economy, President Trump has threatened to impose tariffs of up to 150 billion dollars on Chinese products, in an effort to reduce the bilateral trade imbalance that, according to the states United, it favors China by 375 billion dollars, while Beijing promised strong reprisals and blamed the United States for destroying the global trade order.

Apparent, if not recognized, the response to some of the criticisms of the United States, President Xi said that China would increase imports, improve intellectual property protection and provide an more transparent and rules-based approach to foreign investment. He also pointed to Beijing's announcement at the end of last year that it would increase foreign capital ceilings in the banking, securities and insurance industries and promised that these measures would be implemented.

"We fully intend to translate the measures into reality sooner rather than later," said Mr. Xi, although he did not provide a clearer timetable for these or other announced measures.

Many of the initiatives that Mr. Xi offered have been previously proposed. That, coupled with the lack of defined timelines for the action, attracted some skeptical criticism from foreign business executives and Chinese researchers alike.

These factors also left the speech not reaching the bill of the Chinese officials, who had said that Mr. Xi offered important policy changes in commemoration of the launching of market-oriented reforms in China 40 years ago. the former leader Deng Xiaoping. These earlier reforms allowed China to benefit from globalization, paving the country to become the global factory and, as Xi pointed out in his speech, the second largest economy in the world and the largest trading nation.

Still, given the tit for tariff threats, some saw reasons for cautious optimism in Mr. Xi's remarks. "President Xi was trying to strike a balance today," said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce. UU "President Xi spoke in terms of China's need and commitment to market reform and liberalization, but he was certainly also sending a signal to the US government that he wants cooperation and dialogue, not conflict and a commercial war "[19659003]" If this message can help calm bilateral trade tensions, we'll see, "said Brilliant.

In the end, the complaints of the Trump administration, as well as among some officials in Europe, are policies that say they are in the odds with Beijing's earlier era of market liberalization. They point to the continued restrictions on access to the country's market, as well as Beijing's industrial policies that they say favor state enterprises at the expense of private and foreign-owned companies.

President Trump has focused particularly on what the United States calls unfair practices in China that force US companies to transfer technology and allow cyber-bullying. In announcing a plan earlier this month to impose new taxes on $ 50 billion of Chinese products, the White House highlighted articles in biomedicine, aerospace, new energy vehicles and others, mainly key components in a government initiative known as "Made in China 2025. "The program, backed by Mr. Xi, is designed to make China dominate manufacturing frontiers in the coming decades.

China has denied such allegations and responded in kind, mainly to products manufactured by agricultural states that helped Mr. Trump win the elections in 2016.

While China has benefited from globalization, Mr. Xi and his government are, in many ways, ambivalent about unhindered interaction with the rest of the world. Mr. Xi is a brazen nationalist who believes in the right of the Communist Party to rule and resents the Western conferences on democracy, according to Chinese officials and analysts. Mr. Xi has tried to group state-owned companies and has kept China's Internet isolated behind its Great Firewall.

Previous Chinese leaders, including Mr. Deng, tried to use foreign investment and competition to stimulate change within the country. According to Mr. Xi, some Chinese officials and analysts said that the days when Beijing would make concessions to encourage change are now gone.

"This time is different," said Li Yang, president of the National Institution of Finance and Development, a group of government experts in Beijing. Mr. Li pointed to the declining share of trade in the general economy of China.

"We will open the economy according to our own rhythm," he said.

Write to Lingling Wei at lingling.wei@wsj.com

Appeared in the print edition of April 10, 2018 as China's Xi promises more access to industries & # 39;


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