More than 3,000 companies from 130 countries selling everything from Egyptian dates to factory machinery are attending the China International Import Expo, opening Monday in the commercial hub of Shanghai.
In his address to the China Import Expo, an event created by Beijing to signal its intentions to increase its business with the rest of the world, Xi said China's promise to buy more products and services from overseas is "not a temporary arrangement but a long-term commitment" and that the fair would become an annual event. But he made no mention of complaints that China's plans for state-led development of technology industries and curbs on access to its domestic industries violate its free-trade obligations.
The chamber said expectations for Xi's speech opening the China International Import Expo had been "continuously stoked" by the Chinese government.
Christina Schosser, head of ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Shanghai said the Chinese economy is developing rapidly with the country expecting to import goods and services worth more than ten trillion USA dollars within the next five years, which gives Austrian companies a great opportunity to enter the Chinese market or to expand their activities. "Trade is to communicate...nobody can stop free trade".
President Xi further said countries should become more self-dependent in solving their own problems and striving to improve their own business.
In terms of goods imports, hitting $30 trillion seems like it will be easily achievable. But US President Donald Trump has also repeatedly complained about his country's $375 billion deficit in the trade of goods with China.
The Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said in March that China would import 8 trillion dollars of goods in the next five years.
Some Western diplomats and businesses have been quietly critical of the expo, arguing it is window dressing to what they see as Beijing's long-standing trade abuses.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta voiced impatience when he told the opening ceremony that his country's growing trade with China was heavily skewed in Beijing's favour.
Accusing Beijing of "stealing intellectual property" the Trump administration has been imposing tariffs on China, claiming that the U.S. was "being treated unfairly in trade".
Presidents or prime ministers from 17 countries were set to attend the expo, ranging from Russian Federation and Pakistan to the Cook Islands, though none from major Western nations.
Swiss President Alain Berset did not make the trip to China, despite being announced as among attendees by China's foreign ministry last week.
A handful of countries are being represented by a single exhibitor selling one product.
For Iraq, it's crude oil while Jamaica would market its famed blue mountain coffee. Tiny Sao Tome is selling package holidays.
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