Experts worldwide hail China's commitments to open trade, reject "China threat" rhetoric

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-12 19:57:51|Editor: Liangyu
Video PlayerClose

BEIJING, April 12 (Xinhua) -- As discussions concluded at Asia's top economic forum, experts in multiple countries have hailed China's commitments to open trade, calling on the world to see the Asian country's strength as an opportunity for global prosperity.

In a keynote speech delivered Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference in south China's Hainan Province, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to further open up China's economy, lower tariffs and promote global prosperity.

"It is very reassuring that the Chinese president confirmed ... the commitment to a rule-based international economic system, for an open economy against protectionist measures," said Gerhard Stahl, a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, and former secretary-general of the European Committee of the Regions.

Stahl noted that the Chinese president made important proposals to deepen economic cooperation in the common interest, like reduction of import tariffs, further opening-up of the Chinese market, especially in the financial sector, and more improvements for foreign direct investment.

"European politicians and European business should see the benefits of increased cooperation with China," said Stahl.

"They should not fall into the trap of a geopolitical debate perceiving China as a threat, but understand that economic progress in the most populated country in the world creates benefits for the whole world," he added.

Carl Fey, a professor of international business at Aalto University School of Business in Helsinki, Finland, said he was very excited to hear from Xi's speech that China is committed to multilateral trade negotiations.

Referring to the trade frictions between China and the United States, Fey cited Xi's reaffirmation that China does not seek a trade surplus and is willing to increase imports, pointing out that the "positive" stance stands in contrast to recent U.S. moves.

"In my view, China's recent action will help continue to propel it to be an important global power which will increasingly play a leading role in international dialogue," said Fey.

Washington's recent tariff threats, however, "have not been helpful to the liberal trade regime that has become a global standard and which the United States until recently has ironically been the strongest proponent of," added Fey.

Gabriela Siller, director of economic analysis at Mexican bank Banco Base, said Xi's speech at the BFA conference helped to calm things down despite the shadow cast on the financial markets by the trade frictions between China and the United States, the world's two largest economies.

He stressed that it does not serve U.S. interest to enter into a trade war with China.

"A trade war does not benefit anyone," Siller said at a press conference.

Luigi Gambardella, president of ChinaEU, a business-led international digital association in Brussels, said that when Xi delivers a speech, not only China but the whole world is listening.

Xi's Boao speech, Gambardella said, shows that foreign investors will continue to be welcomed and China will further open up certain segments of the Chinese economy.

"Obviously, the reforms will not happen overnight," he said. "But the message is clear."