World Economy

China Open to Foreign Business

China Open to Foreign BusinessChina Open to Foreign Business

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday reassured US business leaders on the economic progress in his country and called for boosting Sino-American win-win cooperation in trade.

“The trend of China’s economy toward growth and expansion has not changed,” Xi said at a China-US CEO roundtable discussion in Seattle on the second day of his weeklong visit to the United States, Xinhua reported.

“China’s economic fundamentals remain solid and will continue to maintain a long-term steady growth at a medium-to-high speed,” he told more than 30 business leaders from the two countries including Alibaba, Lenovo, IBM and Microsoft.

Noting there are new opportunities facing the two countries, the president called for deepening China-US trade cooperation, which will greatly contribute to their development and the world’s prosperity.

“We support large American businesses in setting up regional headquarters or research and development centers in China, and encourage more small- and medium-sized companies to expand businesses in China. Meanwhile, China will keep increasing its investment in the United States,” Xi said.

 Rejects Allegations

Xi said foreign firms were welcome in China, and that Beijing would not manipulate its currency to boost exports. He also denied Beijing engages in hacking but said China would cooperate with Washington on the issue.

Both issues have strained US-China relations in recent years. BBC said, hacking and economic reforms are likely to come up when Xi meets his US counterpart Barack Obama on Friday.

Xi, who is on his first state visit to the US, told a dinner meeting of business leaders that ensuring robust international trade was a top priority.

In response to US allegations that China-linked hackers have been behind a massive data security breach of government databases as well as attacks on private firms, Xi said Beijing was not involved. He also said cyber-theft was a crime and should be punished.

“The Chinese government will not in whatever form engage in commercial thefts or encourage or support such attempts by anyone,” Xi said.

Ahead of his visit, business leaders reiterated the difficulties US firms have operating in China and the deteriorating outlook for the economy.

China’s economy, which has grown rapidly in recent years, is beginning to slow, causing global concern about a fall in demand for global goods.

Recent dramatic losses on the Chinese stock markets, despite government interventions, have led to questions over how well the government is managing the slowdown.

 Level Playing Field

Xi also took the opportunity to call for a reduction in limits on what American companies can sell in China.

“Chinese companies also hope to see substantive steps by the US to ease restrictions on exports for civilian, high-tech items to China and create a level playing field for Chinese investment in the US,” Xi said.

“A level playing field” has been a frequently used refrain by officials on both sides during Xi’s seven-day US tour, which began Tuesday.

Xi said China needs a diverse entertainment market, and that means including US corporations.

Chief of China’s Internet policy Lu Wei, who spoke at the event hosted by Microsoft, pledged China’s cooperation on cyber security and highlighted the need for cooperation, echoing Xi’s comments on Tuesday at a speech to dignitaries and business executives.

 Economy Stumbling

The specter of China surpassing the United States as an economic superpower was all the talk when President Obama visited Beijing in 2014, CNN Money reported.

What a difference a year makes. Today, China’s economy is stumbling. Its stock market has shed 45% since June, and the country’s extraordinary actions to get things going haven’t been very successful.

In short, China has lost some economic swagger. It gives the US the upper hand–at least slightly–in negotiations this week.

“The world is now saying–what’s going on over there [in China]?” says Derek Scissors, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who focuses on Asia.

The US-China relationship will always be one of co-dependence, at least economically.