The recent economic slowdown and turmoil in China’s markets has led to concerns among investors worldwide. In a bid to reassure investors in Seattle, China’s President Xi Jinping, on a visit to the US to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session and also have a bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama, said his country is committed to economic reforms.
Facing a drastic slowdown, China’s economy is likely to continue growing at below seven per cent, the lowest in 25 years. The recent devaluation of the yuan by China to boost exports has also impacted many global currencies and markets.
Playing down the devaluing of the yuan to boost exports Mr Jinping told the gathering that ‘China will not manipulate its currency to boost exports and will never engage in commercial theft’, adding, it will not discriminate against foreign businesses, will speed its market opening and make efforts to improve human rights.
China has for many years been receiving severe criticism over its human rights record. With major incidents like the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre still fresh in world memory, China, according to the international community, has done little to crackdown on human rights violations.
Mr Jinping said China is willing to cooperate with the United States on cyber security issues. Relations between the US and China have been strained over a host of issues ranging from currency manipulation, cyber security issues and South China Sea dispute.
There is rancour too over China’s treatment of American companies in China. Google and Facebook are blocked in China and no American company can invest directly in China in the technology sector. US companies have been urging China to relax its regulations and create a more conducive and business-friendly environment in China. The Chinese premier, however, will likely be pressed for specifics as he meets with tech and other top business leaders before attending a state dinner hosted by Mr Obama on September 25.
“This week a number of significant deals are being announced alongside President Xi’s visit that exemplify American companies’ commitment to support China’s development both with capital and with world-class technologies,” US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said. She also flagged concerns about lack of regulatory transparency and inconsistent intellectual property rights protection of American companies in China.
The US-China Business Council, a co-sponsor of the event said the group’s latest survey of its members “shows a continued steady erosion of confidence in the China business outlook.”
“The Chinese Government will not in whatever form engage in commercial thefts or encourage or support such attempts by anyone,” Mr Jinping said on the issue of cyber theft, adding that China too has been a victim of hacking.
Reassuring investors he presented a confident picture of the Chinese economy, projecting it as an economy that is on the road to fast growth.
Mr Jinping’s reassurances come at a time when the global economy has taken a hit and uncertainty is high. It remains to be seen if Mr Jinping walks the talk on the reforms he has promised in Seattle. The visit is not expected to bring about a drastic change in the strained relations between China and US, but American business would certainly be hoping for a positive outcome from his visit to make the business environment in China conducive.
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