Economy

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

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

China expects to import $30-trillion worth of goods and $10-trillion worth of services in the next 15 years, Xi said.

He added that China would endeavour to "foster a world-class business environment" and that China´s doors will open "ever wider".

He also said China would further develop Hainan as a free-trade port, prompting shares of companies based in the southern province to jump.

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.

But, without naming the United States directly, Mr Xi also took issue with the way Mr Trump had handled the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

"CIIE is a major initiative by China to pro-actively open up its market to the world", Xi said.

The two countries have set tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods and U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on the remainder of China's $500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the trade dispute can not be resolved. However, the comments were short on specifics. "It's a great opportunity for the world", he said.

The event has drawn several foreign heads of government including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Pakistani premier Imran Khan, though most are from small African or Asian countries dependent on China trade.

Ma made the comments at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in the Chinese commercial hub of Shanghai.

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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta voiced the foreign impatience when he told the opening ceremony that his country´s growing trade with China was "heavily skewed" in Beijing´s favour. He said China would continue to promote globalization and pledged to boost domestic consumption, strengthen intellectual property enforcement and advance trade talks with Europe, Japan and South Korea.

China ranks 59th out of 62 countries on openness to foreign direct investment, according to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranking.

China, in turn, has imposed levies on $110 billion of USA imports.

But the lure of China remains strong and the USA contingent includes even tech giants such as Facebook, which is blocked in China, and Google, which pulled out years ago over censorship and cyber-attacks.

Both are seen as eyeing new ways into China's giant market.

As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up policy, the Asian power, by holding the expo for imports, will try to brush aside criticism that Chinese markets are closed given that they are mainly controlled by the government.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates will join a business forum, but the touchy optics of attending a China import expo at a time of trade tensions means few big-name American CEOs are confirmed.

About 3,600 companies from more than 170 nations, regions and worldwide groups are taking part in the country's first national-level expo for imports, the Chinese government said.


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