Xi Jinping to deliver headline address at China International Import Expo 2019

Leaders from 15 countries will meet in Beijing today on the first day of the second China International Import Expo

china international import expo 2019

Photo: Xinhua

Leaders from 15 countries will meet in Beijing today on the first day of the second China International Import Expo conference to discuss World Trade Organisation reform.

With the US flirting with the idea of leaving the WTO, China has sought a more active role in shaping the body. Beijing has increased bilateral and multilateral trade with many members, exemplified by efforts to finish a free trade agreement with Southeast Asian countries.

European leaders and companies are concerned that any amendments to the WTO ushered in by Beijing will sustain China’s disregard of intellectual property rights, forced tech transfers, and protectionist market strategies. On the other hand, Beijing is pointing to the number of firms participating in the Expo as a positive sign for further Chinese market liberation.

Despite a China-EU trade deal’s currently being negotiated, policymakers are not confident successful WTO reform will be achieved. This is because Beijing has stood by its corporate social credit system, which punishes corporations that don’t promote the Chinese Communist Party’s business interests, and foreign direct investment restrictions that allow China to maintain its competitive edge.

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