The Chinese President, Mr. Xi Jinping, on Tuesday pledged to further open China’s economy, declaring the world must 'knock down walls' as he opened an annual trade fair against the backdrop of the US tariffs war.
Mr. Xi addressed an audience including the French President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, at the import exhibition in Shanghai, staged annually by China to show its willingness to open up its vast domestic markets in the face of criticism that they remain too closed.
The world community must 'continue to knock down walls instead of building walls, resolutely oppose protectionism and unilateralism, (and) continuously reduce trade barriers',he said.
The speech was light on specifics, however, and thus unlikely to mollify foreign critics who accuse China of a range of protectionist measures and failing to deliver on reform promises.
With China and the United States working to lock in a partial trade deal announced last month, Mr. Xi steered clear of their tariff war in his remarks.
It was in stark contrast to his keynote last year at the height of the trade confrontation, when Mr. Xi took a swipe at the Trump administration, decrying 'protectionism', 'isolationism' and 'the law of the jungle', while not specifically naming the US.
Speaking after Mr. Xi, Mr. Macron complained that the US-China trade war 'only creates losers' and was weighing on global growth.
He expressed hope that the world’s two largest economies can reach an agreement that also will 'preserve the interests' of other trade partners, like the European Union.
Without directly naming the US President, Mr. Donald Trump, Mr. Macron decried 'unilateral action, the use of tariffs as a weapon, (and) survival of the fittest'.