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Xi defends BRI; says China has no geo-political calculations

14 April 2018

"Very thankful for President Xi of China's kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers", Trump said on Twitter. He made some indirect swipes at the USA when he said that we should put aside "Cold War mentality" and not view trade as a "zero-sum game".

It's about the United States not showing sincerity, he said.

Vice Premier Liu He had already vowed at the World Economic Forum in January that China would roll out fresh market opening moves this year, and that it would lower auto import tariffs in an "orderly way". Yi said Beijing will "substantially expand the business scope of foreign banks", and impose no restrictions on the business scope of joint-venture securities companies, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. They now are limited to a 50 percent stake in joint ventures and can not establish their own wholly owned factories.

Xi pledged specific measures to address concerns on IP protection.

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The State Council Information Office, which represents China's central government, didn't reply to faxed questions Monday on USA trade talks. The Eurasia Group agreed the speech was "not a game-changer" and said it "underdelivers after all the hype from Beijing".

ANALYSTS' VIEWPOINT: In his worldwide debut as China's new central bank governor, Yi "has sent a clear signal today. that China is serious about its commitment to opening up the economy and carrying out reforms in the financial markets", Betty Wang and David Qu of ANZ Research said in a commentary. "If the United States takes any action to escalate the situation, China will not hesitate to fight back".

"China took the initiative to open up and made it possible for all countries across the world to ride on the express of China's economic development", Gao said.

The march of history towards economic liberalisation was irreversible, he said at another point, restating China's commitment to free trade.

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Trump's announcement came weeks after his decision to tax imports of steel and aluminium, followed by planned levies on $50-billion (R604-billion) worth of goods from China over what Washington said is theft of intellectual property and technology. Beijing denies this charge.

Gao repeated complaints that Trump acted improperly when he responded to Beijing's protest over his plan to raise tariffs on $50 billion (€40.4 billion) of Chinese goods by saying he might add another $100 billion of imports to the list. None of the announced duties have been implemented yet, offering room for negotiation.

Trump is critical of what he sees as unfair automobile trade.

But the sudden spike in trade tensions with the United States is clouding the outlook for both China's "old economy" heavy industries and "new economy" tech firms alike.

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He tweeted on Monday that "when a auto is sent to the United States from China, there is a tariff to be paid of 2-and-a-half percent and when a vehicle is sent to China from the USA, the tariff is 25 percent". "I think the time is gradually coming for China and the USA to negotiate".

Xi defends BRI; says China has no geo-political calculations