China to 'step up' market reforms amid U.S. trade war

China's Xi promises market opening as import fair begins

Xi Pledges to Open Chinese Market

President Xi Jinping has promised to open China's market wider as he opened a trade fair meant to promote the country's image as an importer, but he offered no response to US and European complaints about technology policy and curbs on foreign business.

Mr Xi was speaking at the China International Import Expo which is aimed at promoting China as an open economy that's keen to purchase goods from other countries.

As China has been lambasted for stealing technology rather than developing it independently, Xi also committed to implementing measures to protect intellectual property rights.

"We will foster a world-class business environment", Mr Xi said in an address opening the import fair in Shanghai. "After more than 5,000 years of hardship, China is still here".

He opened the first annual China International Import Expo in Shanghai, attended by many world leaders and major firms, with a speech acknowledging anger overseas over trade policies in the world's second-largest economy.

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The two countries have set tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods and U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on the remainder of China's $500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the trade dispute can not be resolved.

The Chinese president has promised to open the country to foreign goods and investments but markets in Asia fell on continued concerns that the country's trade war with America showed no sign of ending.

Security guards stand on duty near an entrance to the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, November 5, 2018.

While Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum from allies received mixed reactions, his push on China to demand fairer trade practices has been met with bipartisan approval.

China, in turn, has imposed levies on $110 billion of United States imports.

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Xi praised Shanghai as a center for technology and invention.

President Uhuru Kenyatta over the weekend led top government officials to China where he is expected to seal a deal allowing setting up of a silk shop in Kenya.

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Experts say the week-long expo is also a message by China that, as the buying power of its 1.4 billion people grows, trading partners will need to work with Beijing if they want a piece of that import market.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other foreign political leaders attended the opening ceremony. No senior US officials were set to attend the Shanghai event. Xi also pointed to the Belt and Road Initiative and the growing trade and investment with countries along the route. The Swiss government said in a statement on Sunday that his visit had never been confirmed.

But, without naming the USA directly, Mr Xi also took issue with the way Mr Trump had handled the trade war between the world's two largest economies. From the United States, some 136 exhibitors will attend, including Google, Dell Inc, Ford and General Electric. Iran, saffron. Jamaica will be marketing its famed blue mountain coffee and Chad is selling bauxite.

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