Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that China would take steps to widen access to its markets as he opened a huge trade fair amid criticism from other countries about China’s economic and business practices.
Xi said China would lower tariffs, take more action to punish violations of intellectual property rights, and work to boost domestic consumption of imported goods.
Speaking at the trade expo in Shanghai, Xi pledged to “embrace the world” as China promotes the growing consumer market in the world’s second-largest economy.
He did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump by name, but alluded to Trump’s “America first” economic policies by criticizing isolationism and citing a need to defend multilateral trade.
The United States and China are locked in a battle over trade, with Trump complaining about the trade gap between the two countries and accusing China of stealing intellectual property and imposing policies that make it more difficult for U.S. companies to access the Chinese market.
Trump has announced boosted tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, while China has countered with $110 billion in tariffs on U.S. products. Xi and Trump are expected to meet later this month.
The European Union has also complained about China’s trade policies, including criticizing Xi for not following through on earlier reform pledges. The EU called last week for Xi to present concrete steps to opening its market.