Xi Jinping pledges to cut Chinese import tariffs

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing will attend the opening ceremony of the trade fair and tour the Singapore commercial pavilions

China's Expo attracts 1000 firms from Belt and Road countries

President Xi Jinping promised a more liberal policy towards import of goods and services at the inauguration ceremony of the week-long China International Import Expo (CIIE) which will be attended by government officials and corporate executives from 172 countries.

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.

"China now ranks as the number one trading partner with Kenya accounting for 17.2 per cent of Kenya's total trade with the world".

It may be noted here that the expo has been met with some foreign scepticism, with Washington snubbing the gathering by not sending high-level representation, instead calling on China to change "unfair" trade practices.

Xi's speech had been closely watched for new measures that would show China was serious about opening its economy quickly as investors look for signs of a possible resolution to a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday led his administration in pushing for greater access to the Chinese market for Kenyan exports to balance trade.

He also claimed that China would import $30 trillion (€26.3 trillion) worth of goods and $10 trillion in services in the next 15 years.

In an attempt to showcase its commitment to globalisation, willingness to open its market and buy more from other countries, China had made a decision to hold an import fair in the country.

About 180 US companies are sending representatives, including big names such as Google, Boeing, Caterpillar, Facebook, General Motors, Honeywell International, Microsoft, Tesla and Qualcomm.

The brain behind this is a bid to demonstrate the importing potential of the world's second biggest economy.

President Xi Jinping on Monday will open a Shanghai import fair intended as a signal by China that its markets are open despite mounting criticism to the contrary and the worsening trade war with Washington.

Beijing has this year rolled back rules that require foreign investors to establish joint ventures with Chinese firms in the auto industry and financial sector, allowing companies like JP Morgan and BMW for the first time to set up local ventures with majority control. "It's going to be a huge pain to a lot of businesses, but it's also going to be a good opportunity for a lot of consumers".

The import expo builds on those efforts.

A fully optimistic attitude can be held toward the prospects of China's economic development.

But China doesn't operate that way, according to Peter Alexander, who has lived in China for more than two decades and heads Z-Ben Advisors.

The CIIE only hosts foreign enterprises that are seeking to sell to the Chinese market, and no Chinese manufacturers are permitted to take part in the expo.

In the statement announcing that the United States will not send a high-level delegation to the expo, an embassy spokesperson added that the Chinese government should level the playing field for US goods and services.

Novartis was one of the first global firms to enter China, one of the drugmaker's most important markets.

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