Alibaba's Ma calls trade war 'stupidest thing in the world'

  • Alibaba's Ma calls trade war 'stupidest thing in the world'

Alibaba's Ma calls trade war 'stupidest thing in the world'

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised on Monday to lower tariffs, broaden market access and import more from overseas at the start of a trade expo created to demonstrate goodwill amid mounting frictions with the United States and others.

At the meeting, President Kenyatta, who is one of the Chief Guests at the China International Import Expo, said the trade fair provides a platform for more win-win partnerships.

Mr Xi's speech on Monday kicked off China's week-long worldwide import expo, which had more than 3,600 companies and 170 countries and regions participating, according to the event website.

While Xi pledged to import US$30 trillion of good over the next 15 years - up from US$24 trillion in previous estimates - his policy initiatives were largely in line with previous statements. China has been the world's second largest merchandise importer for nine consecutive years.

The inaugural expo comes at an inflection point as China transitions to high-quality development and shifts from the world's workshop to the world's market, with the world's biggest middle-income population demanding higher-quality consumer products. The two leaders discussed how to strengthen trade and investment ties between Kenya and China.

Xi gave a 30-minute speech in front of government officials and business leaders from overseas on the eve of United States midterm elections on Tuesday, the result of which will determine the outlook for trade negotiations with the US.

Xi made no mention of Beijing's fight with U.S. President Donald Trump over Chinese plans for state-led development of technology industries.

He said "economic globalisation is facing setbacks, multilateralism and the free trade system is under attack, factors of instability and uncertainty are numerous, and risks and obstacles are increasing".

"I don't think that there were necessarily path-breaking new reforms announced by him today, but I guess I would take this as a confirmation that China is very keen to be seen as continuing to open up further and committing to that stance", he said.

China imported $1.84 trillion of goods in 2017, up 16 per cent, or $255 billion, from a year earlier. He also said China would further develop Hainan as a free-trade port, prompting shares of companies based in the southern province to jump.

But none addresses USA complaints about its technology policy that prompted Trump to impose penalty tariffs of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports.

Expectations had been low that Xi would announce bold new policies of the kind that many foreign governments and businesses have been seeking.

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.

In a keynote speech, Xi vowed to increase imports, lower tariffs, reduce non-tariff barriers to trade and protect foreign intellectual property.

Exhibitors from around 140 countries and regions will be on hand, including 404 from Japan, the most of any country.