China's president promises to cut auto import tariff

President Xi Jinping has promised to cut auto import taxes, open China's markets and improve conditions for foreign companies in a speech that called for international cooperation against a backdrop of a spiralling dispute with Washington over trade and technology.

Speaking at a business conference, Mr Xi made no direct mention of his American counterpart, Donald Trump, or the tariff spat.

But he mentioned themes that are key irritants in relations with Washington, repeating pledges to open China's banking and finance industries to foreign ownership and to protect the intellectual property of foreign companies.

Mr Xi tried to position China as a defender of free trade and cooperation in response to Mr Trump's "America first" calls for import restrictions and an overhaul of trade deals to make them more favourable to the United States.

"China's door of opening up will not be closed and will only open wider," said Mr Xi at the Boao Forum for Asia on the southern island of Hainan.

Mr Xi said Beijing will "significantly lower" tariffs on auto imports this year and ease restrictions on foreign ownership in the auto industry "as soon as possible".

Mr Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods worth $50bn (€40bn) in response to complaints Beijing pressures foreign companies to hand over technology in violation of its market-opening pledges. Beijing responded with its own 50 billion dollar list of US goods for possible retaliation.

The Chinese leader did not refer directly to that dispute but promised to encourage "normal technological exchange" and to "protect the lawful ownership rights of foreign enterprises".

- PA


More in this Section

US Senate backs resolution blaming Saudi crown prince for writer’s death

May delays Commons Brexit showdown until after Christmas

Cardinal denies covering up actions of sex abuse claim priest who was son of 'Lord of the Rings' author

US drivers cause crashes while grabbing cash spilled by van


Lifestyle

Family restaurants serving up more calories than fast food – here are 8 healthy swaps to make

What parents can learn from Mary Poppins

Unmasking Limerick's newest masked rapper

How to stop tensions boiling over this festive season

More From The Irish Examiner