Xi promises wider market access, better IP protection

Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who was accompanied by his wife Maria Begona Gomez, at the Royal Palace in Madrid on Wednesday. Mr Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan are flanked by Spain's King Felipe and Queen Let
Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who was accompanied by his wife Maria Begona Gomez, at the Royal Palace in Madrid on Wednesday. Mr Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan are flanked by Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia. China and Spain inked a series of deals during Mr Xi's state visit. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID • China will widen market access for foreign investors and step up protection of intellectual property (IP) rights, China's President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday ahead of the Group of 20 (G-20) meeting of world leaders in Argentina.

Addressing the Spanish Upper House of Parliament during a two-day stop in Madrid, Mr Xi also said China planned to import US$10 trillion (S$13.7 trillion) worth of goods over the next five years.

"China will make efforts to open, even more, its doors to the exterior world, and we will make efforts to streamline access to markets in the areas of investment and protect intellectual property," he said.

Mr Xi made no reference to US President Donald Trump, who on Monday said he expected to move ahead with raising tariffs on US$200 billion in Chinese imports to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent.

Yesterday, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said China is hoping for "positive results" in resolving the trade dispute with the United States at the G-20 summit.

Asked if China was seeking to prevent more US tariffs at the high-stakes meeting, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said economic teams from both sides were in contact to implement a "consensus" reached by Mr Trump and Mr Xi in a phone call this month.

"I hope that the US and China could move towards each other and work hard to achieve positive results in the meeting," Mr Gao said, without giving any details.

 
 

In Madrid, Spain and China, in a joint declaration, said they backed "an open and balanced global economy based on WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules, reaffirming their commitment to fighting protectionism and unilateralism".

China and Spain signed an accord on the export of Iberian ham to China as part of a series of deals inked during the state visit. But a Spanish government source said Spain will not sign up to Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative, a wide-ranging development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving global infrastructure projects.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2018, with the headline 'Xi promises wider market access, better IP protection'. Print Edition | Subscribe