In his address at the annual Boao Forum in Hainan, President Xi Jinping somewhat assuaged market concerns over the looming trade war between China and the U.S. by committing to lower tariffs this year and a continuation of China’s path to liberalisation.
Xi said China was beginning a ‘new phase of opening up’, citing increased imports, particularly of autos, and less regulation on foreign-owned manufacturing as some of the policies his government will pursue.
Both Asian and US stocks climbed on the back of the reassuring comments.
The tone was also cautious at times, with Xi telling the audience of investors that “human society is facing a major choice to open or close, to go forward or backward,” adding that “a Cold War mentality and zero-sum game thinking are outdated.”
In a clear reference to the White House’s recent threats of a further $100 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods, Xi said that “paying attention only to one’s own community without thinking of others can only lead into a wall. And we can only achieve win-win results by insisting on peaceful development and working together.”
Responding to the speech on Twitter, President Trump said that he was “thankful” for Xi’s comments on auto tariffs and on an optimistic note wrote: “We will make great progress together.”