China’s representative to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland has delivered a speech reiterating Beijing’s commitment to globalisation and further economic opening
Liu He, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, said China “will further integrate with international trade rules and ease market access,” as well as “further open up the services sector, and the financial sector in particular.”
“China has stood firm against all forms of protectionism,” said Liu. “We have broadened access to our financial markets and taken the initiative to increase imports.”
Liu, who is considered to be one of China’s most influential behind-the-scenes economic advisors, said that the reform measures that Beijing plans to introduce in 2018 “will exceed the expectations of the international community.”
The remarks by Liu arrive just as Sino-US trade tensions intensify, with the Trump administration slapping a tariff on China’s solar photovoltaic products, and a report to congress calling the Washington’s decision to support China’s ascension to the World Trade Organization at the start of the century a mistake.
At a WEF panel held on the same day as Liu’s speech, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed strong cynicism about China’s level of actual commitment to free trade.
“The Chinese for quite a little while have been superb at free-trade rhetoric and even more superb at highly protectionist behavior,” Ross said.
“Is there really free trade or is it a unicorn in the garden? Every time the U.S. does anything to deal with a problem, we are called protectionist.”