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In APEC speech, Xi touts China’s economy as base of free trade

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President Xi Jinping hailed China because the pivot level for international free commerce on Thursday, vowing to maintain its “super-sized” economic system open for enterprise and warning in opposition to protectionism because the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buoyed by the signing of the world’s largest commerce pact over the weekend, Mr. Xi mentioned the Asia-Pacific is the “forerunner driving global growth” in a world hit by “multiple challenges.”

He vowed “openness” to commerce and rejected any risk of the “decoupling” of China’s economic system, in his solely nod to the hostile commerce coverage of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, which has battered China with tariffs and tech restrictions.

Mr. Xi was talking on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) discussion board, held on-line this yr due to the pandemic, which brings collectively 21 Pacific Rim international locations, accounting for about 60% of world GDP.

It was not instantly clear if Mr. Trump, wounded by his election loss to Joe Biden, would participate within the two-day gathering or ship a high-level delegate in his place.

In a speech that veered into triumphalism over China’s financial “resilience and vitality” in bouncing again from the virus, which first emerged within the central metropolis of Wuhan, Mr. Xi warned international locations who insist on commerce obstacles would undergo self-inflicted wounds.

“Openness enables a country to move forward while seclusion holds it back,” he mentioned.

“China will actively cooperate with all countries, regions and enterprises that want to do so. We will continue to hold high the banner of openness and co-operation.”

Bargaining chip

But Mr. Xi’s rhetoric might increase eyebrows in capitals the place China has both restricted commerce or used its large economic system as a bargaining chip in wider geopolitical disputes.

Australian exports of beef, wine and barley to China — their largest market – have been restricted.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which excludes the US, is seen as a serious coup for China and additional proof that Beijing is setting the agenda for international commerce as Washington retreats.



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