Thursday, 15 November, 2018

China Premier Defends Free Trade, Foreign Investments

Wan Gang minister of science and technology of the People's Republic of China speaks on June 27 at the 2017 Dalian Summer Davos China Premier Defends Free Trade, Foreign Investments
Melinda Barton | 29 June, 2017, 09:11

Li's speech was a robust defense of globalization and a thinly veiled rebuttal of the narrative adopted by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has accused trading partners, including China, of unfair trading practices.

Li also said Beijing will facilitate foreign investment by relaxing restrictions on how much overseas firms can own of China ventures and making it easier for them to register new companies locally.

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam urged greater cooperation with China and extended an invitation for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to make an official visit to Singapore.

"There is a misunderstanding about the "Made in China 2025" plan, saying the goal of such policies is to enable China not to buy foreign equipment, which, however, is impossible", Li said, pointing out that firms make their own decisions to purchase products in the age of globalization. China is committed to rooting out the risks inherent in the nation's financial systems, Li said, adding that those problems are "generally under control".

"Just like when we sprain our ankle when walking down the road, we shouldn't blame the road and stop walking", he said.

China eliminated more than 65 million tonnes of steel production capacity and over 290 million tonnes of coal past year, beating government annual targets.

With huge market potential, the improvements of China's manufacturing will in return prompt the growth of the world market, Li said. The surveyed jobless rate fell to 4.9 percent in May, the lowest reading "in years", he said.

From Tuesday to Thursday, around 1,500 politicians, officials, entrepreneurs, scholars and media representatives from over 90 countries and regions will discuss topics spanning inclusive growth to the new industrial revolution at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2017, also called Summer Davos.

Li Daokui, a former adviser to China's central bank, said on a panel discussion that yuan depreciation pressure will remain moderate in the next few years as long as there's no major upheaval caused by the Trump administration.

"In the financial sector there are some risks, but we have the ability to uphold the bottom line of no systemic financial risks", said Li to an audience of Chinese and foreign businesspeople.

Both leaders also agreed on three specific areas where Singapore and China can cooperate more closely to take bilateral ties to the next phase.