China won’t close its door to any country: Xi Jinping

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The Nov. 5-10 China International Import Expo, or CIIE, brings thousands of foreign companies together with Chinese buyers in a bid to demonstrate the importing potential of the world's second biggest economy.

But critics say Xi is yet to put his money where his mouth is and they are exhausted of empty promises.

In a speech that largely echoed previous promises, Xi said China would accelerate the opening of the education, telecommunications and cultural sectors, while protecting foreign companies' interests and punishing violations of intellectual property rights.

But he said Xi's latest comments came "with few specific solutions" and that the chamber wants to see the "rhetoric" match by actions.

"The economic and social well-being of countries in the world is increasingly interconnected", he said.

Foreign business surveys indicate that the playing field in China is actually worsening as Xi champions a strong-China message not unlike Trump´s "America First" platform.

"For my understanding, it's the greatest challenge for China".

But Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta voiced impatience when he told the opening ceremony that his country's growing trade with China was "heavily skewed" in Beijing's favour.

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Government ministers from several other countries were also coming, but no senior United States officials were set to attend.

"It is important for us therefore to correct the existing trade imbalance to enable a fair share of the benefits of trade", he said.

The China International Import Expo is part of Beijing's effort to develop trade ties while resisting pressure to roll back industry development plans that Washington, Europe, Japan and other trading partners say violate its market-opening obligations.

But US officials say that approach amounts to China buying its way out of trouble with a short-term import surge rather than real change, and Washington snubbed the gathering by not sending high-level representation.

But the lure of China remains strong and the United States contingent includes even tech giants such as Facebook, which is blocked in China, and Google, which pulled out years ago over censorship and cyber-attacks.

Xi recalled the meeting between the two presidents during the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in September and the consensus reached, calling on both sides to push for new progress in deepening the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership while implementing the outcome of the summit and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

China's shift to an import model is "going to be a huge pain for a lot of businesses, but it's also going to make a good opportunity for a lot of consumers", he said.

Trump, however, has in recent days raised hopes of a resolution to the trade spat, saying he was optimistic a deal could be reached soon.

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