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TRADE WARS
China's Xi calls for more imports and more 'open economy'
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 18, 2017


China says economy grew 6.9% in second quarter
Beijing (AFP) July 17, 2017 - China posted better-than-expected growth of 6.9 percent in the second quarter, official data showed Monday, but authorities warned of lingering risks to the economy.

Analysts polled by AFP had forecast growth of 6.8 percent after the economy expanded 6.9 percent in the first quarter.

"Generally speaking, the national economy has maintained the momentum of steady and sound development in the first half of 2017, laying a solid foundation for achieving the annual target and better performance," national statistics bureau spokesman Xing Zhihong said.

"However, we must be aware that there are still many unstable and uncertain factors abroad and long-term structural contradictions remain prominent at home," Xing said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for an increase in imports and fewer restrictions for foreign investors as Beijing comes under pressure from the US and Europe to provide a more level playing field for companies in the country.

Donald Trump has railed against China's massive trade surplus while the European Union and US companies have complained about a lack of access to the huge market.

Speaking to a Communist Party committee on financial and economic affairs, Xi called for "expanding imports while stabilising exports", state-run media reported on Tuesday.

China's leaders trying to transform the economy from a reliance on exports and state investment to one driven by domestic demand, though that has led to a slowdown in growth to 26-year lows.

Xi also said "an open economy" with fewer restrictions to foreign access will serve to "promote balance of payment under the current account", according to the China Daily.

The large US trade deficit with China was a major talking point for Trump during last year's presidential campaign, when he claimed Beijing had "stolen" millions of jobs from Americans.

He also accused China of manipulating its currency to support its exports -- a charge he has dropped since taking office in January.

In his statement on Monday, Xi called for measures to liberalise trade and simplify import procedures while reducing tariffs on certain consumer products.

He stressed keeping the yuan currency's value "basically stable at a reasonable and balanced level", and steadily pushing it "to become an international currency", Xinhua state news agency reported.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at the start of the year, Xi stood out as a defender of free trade and globalisation in the face of Trump's protectionist rhetoric.

But foreign firms in China have long pointed out the obstacles to doing business in the country, where they say domestic companies enjoy distinct advantages.

"A market environment featuring fair play should be created in the country," Xi said in his statement, noting that "national treatment in laws and policies should be granted to foreign-funded companies after they enter the market."

TRADE WARS
China cuts off Wanda funding after overseas buying spree: reports
Shanghai (AFP) July 17, 2017
China plans to squeeze high-flying billionaire Wang Jianlin's conglomerate Wanda by cutting off new loans and regulatory approvals for deals, reports said Monday, punishing it for breaching Chinese restrictions on overseas investments. The regulatory retaliation marks a major setback for a formerly fast-expanding company that was among the most aggressive players in a flood of acquisitions ... read more

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