China keen to work with ‘US states, local councils, businesses’ despite Washington’s hostility, Xi Jinping says
- President Xi Jinping is keen to de-escalate rising tensions with Washington and ensure American companies continue to do business with China
- China has had close ties with states on the west coast of the US, while purchases of agriculture products have also boosted interactions with Midwest farm states
President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed a commitment to cooperate with all countries, regions and businesses that are willing to work with China, including “American states, local councils and businesses”.
Xi’s comments underscore efforts by China’s leadership to de-escalate rising tensions with Washington and ensure American companies continue to do business with China.
“Opening up is a key driver of China’s fast and persistent growth. It is a basic national policy. We’ll upgrade our opening level, foster international cooperation and seek new competitive advantages,” Xi told a symposium with state economists and sociologists in Beijing, according to the official Xinhua News Agency on Monday.
“We will have closer ties with the global economy and our status in the global economy will keep rising.
“For all countries, regions and businesses that are willing to work with us, including American states, local councils and businesses, we must undertake cooperation proactively.”
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The unstable bilateral relationship with the US has become one of the biggest concerns casting a shadow over Xi’s vision of China’s “national rejuvenation”.
His comments showed that Beijing is pinning its hopes on local governments and the business community in the US to avoid, or at least delay, a full-fledged confrontation.
Beijing used to have cosy relationships with Wall Street firms and American businesses with large operations in China, but that goodwill has thinned considerably in recent years.
Vice-Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a conference call on Tuesday during which they agreed there had been progress in implementing the deal since it was implemented in February while also committing to further steps to ensure its success.
Xi’s speech was the first major public statement from the Chinese leader about China’s place in the future of the world economy after the Chinese leadership’s annual policy review retreat at the Beidaihe seaside resort.
Xi argued that domestic demand has played a dominant role in the Chinese economy since the global financial crisis in 2008, citing the recent drop in the current account surplus to less than 1 per cent of gross domestic product from 9.9 per cent in 2007 and the strong rise in the contribution of domestic demand to the nation's economy in the past decade.
“The dominance of the domestic market will become more apparent in the foreseeable future. We will insist on the strategic direction of supply-side structural reform, adapting production, distribution, circulation and consumption mainly to domestic needs,” he said.