World

China's Xi calls for more imports and more 'open economy'

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for an increase in imports and fewer restrictions for foreign investors as Beijing comes under pressure from the United States and Europe to provide a more level playing field for companies.

US President Donald Trump has railed against China's massive trade surplus, while the European Union and US companies have complained about a lack of access to the market.

Speaking to a Communist Party committee on financial and economic affairs, Mr Xi called for "expanding imports while stabilising exports", state-run media reported yesterday.

China's leaders are trying to transform the economy from a reliance on exports and state investment to one driven by domestic demand, though that has led to a slowdown in growth to 26-year lows.

Mr Xi also said "an open economy" with fewer restrictions to foreign access will serve to "promote balance of payment under the current account", according to the China Daily.

The large US trade deficit with China was a major talking point for Mr Trump during last year's presidential campaign, when he claimed Beijing had "stolen" millions of jobs from Americans.

He also accused China of manipulating its currency to support its exports - a charge he has dropped since taking office in January.

On Monday, Mr Xi called for measures to liberalise trade and simplify import procedures while reducing tariffs on certain consumer products. - AFP

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