President Xi Jinping declares cutting auto import taxes, to open China’s markets and improve conditions for foreign companies Tuesday.
This is all for international cooperation against a backdrop of a spiraling dispute with Washington over trade and technology. Speaking at a business conference, Xi made no direct mention irritant relations with United States.
Xi Jinping tried to position China as a defender of free trade and cooperation in response to Trump’s “America first” calls for import restrictions and an overhaul of trade deals to make them more favorable to the United States.
“China’s door of opening up will not be closed and will only open wider,” said Xi at the Boao Forum for Asia on the southern island of Hainan.
Xi said Beijing will “significantly lower” tariffs on auto imports this year and ease restrictions on foreign ownership in the auto industry “as soon as possible.”
Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods worth $50 billion. In response to complaints Beijing pressures foreign companies to hand over technology in violation of its market-opening pledges. Beijing responded with its own $50 billion list of U.S. goods for possible retaliation.
The Chinese leader didn’t refer directly to that dispute but promised to encourage “normal technological exchange” and to “protect the lawful ownership rights of foreign enterprises.”