China open to talks on subsidies behind US tensions, Xi says | Business and economic news – Community News
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China open to talks on subsidies behind US tensions, Xi says | Business and economic news

President Xi Jinping said China is open to negotiations on subsidies to its industrial companies and state-owned enterprises, key points of trade tensions with the US

China will take an “active and open” stance in discussions on topics such as the digital economy, trade and environment, industrial subsidies and state-owned enterprises, Xi said Thursday evening at the opening of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

The Chinese leader said his country would continue to open up and seek cooperation in international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

“In the future, China will put more emphasis on expanding imports and pursuing a balanced development of trade,” he added.

The US has long been concerned about the state-controlled structure of China’s economy and subsidies, and has repeatedly pointed to what a senior US official called China’s “unfair, non-market practices” last month.

Xi did not comment directly on the state of the Chinese economy after a recent slowdown in growth. Instead, he cited a number of policies to expand imports, including:

  • Building new demonstration zones for import facilitation
    Increasing imports from neighboring countries
  • Further reducing the negative list for foreign investment and expanding the opening of telecommunications, health care and other services in an orderly manner
  • Reviewing and Expanding a Catalog of Industries Encouraging Foreign Investment
  • Publish negative lists for trade in services in the country’s free trade zones

Xi said that since China joined the WTO two decades ago, the government of the world’s second-largest economy had revised thousands of rules and regulations, a move that “helped unleash market and social vitality.”

Henry Wang Huiyao, chairman and founder of the Center for China & Globalization policy research group in Beijing, said Xi used the speech to underline how China’s participation in multilateral institutions had prompted the country to implement reforms.

“China is sending a strong signal that it wants to work with the US on the WTO — to reform the WTO and work with the US on the WTO,” Wang said.

Last month, the US criticized China’s trade policy, with David Bisbee, the Chargé d’affaires at the US Mission in Geneva, saying the nation has failed to make changes to follow the organization’s rulebook.

Bisbee’s comments came during the WTO’s Periodic Trade Policy Review, which said China has not been fully transparent about its government subsidy programs — particularly those related to aluminum, electric vehicles, glass, shipbuilding, semiconductors or steel.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden will hold a video summit at an unspecified date
[FILE: Nicolas Asfouri and Nicholas Kamm/AFP]

The US and China are planning a video summit between Xi and President Joe Biden, the date of which has not yet been set. The two leaders are likely to agree on reopening consulates closed during the Trump administration and easing visa restrictions, Politco reported, citing sources it did not identify.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said earlier this week that China is expected to meet its obligations under the Phase 1 trade deal, meaning the US could consider lowering some tariffs in a reciprocal manner, the latest sign of a thaw in the bilateral ties.

China’s leaders have previously used the trade fair to reiterate the country’s commitment to economic openness and the global trade order.

Although Xi has not left the country for more than 650 days, skipping recent meetings of world leaders in Rome and Glasgow, Beijing is positioning itself as a defender of multilateral institutions.

China applied in September to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Asia-Pacific trade pact once promoted by the US but abandoned by former US President Donald Trump. Xi also told the G-20 meeting that China will apply to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, a digital pact that includes Singapore, New Zealand and Chile.

“Over the past 20 years, we have witnessed China deepening reforms and pursuing openness, China seizes opportunities and faces challenges, and China takes on its responsibilities and benefits the whole world,” he said at the opening of the exhibition.