Xi touts China’s ‘openness’ at Asia Pacific business leaders meet

Daniel Fowler
November 20, 2020

Chinese president Xi Jinping has said China will open up its "super-sized" economy to import more high-quality goods and services.

The pair will be at a meeting of the leaders of the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) hosted virtually by Malaysia, just two weeks after Mr Trump lost his re-election bid.

Washington broke with its usual practice and did not send a representative to deliver a public speech at the two days of meetings, but a senior United States official confirmed Trump would take part in the official summit on Friday evening.

It will be only the second time that Trump, who is pursuing legal challenges after his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, has participated in APEC, the other occasion being in 2017.

He rejected any possibility of the "decoupling" of China's economy, in his only nod to the hostile trade policy of Trump's administration, which has battered China with tariffs and tech restrictions.

The news comes after Trump's outgoing administration faced criticism for lower-level participation at last weekend's virtual East Asia summit, on the sidelines of which 15 countries signed a major China-backed regional trade deal.

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Japan and 14 other Asian neighbors on Sunday signed the world's largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, nearly a decade in the making, has raised questions over whether the US would move under Biden to counter China's growing regional influence, especially as Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017.

In the run up to Friday's meeting, several Apec leaders warned against protectionism as the world grapples with the economic impact of the novel coronavirus. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was slated to speak later Thursday, while his counterparts from Japan and New Zealand were expected to address the gathering on Friday.

China and the U.S. have been involved in a trade war since 2018 with a number of flashpoint over import taxes and Chinese technology firms operating in America.

"China's commitment to opening up is strong and China will open its door wider to the world", he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that "making rules for a free and fair global economy is critically important", at a time there was a risk of turning inward during the global economic slump.

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