Xi says China to 'step up' market opening, raise imports

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Ma, the billionaire owner of China's largest online shopping portal, made the headline-grabbing job-creation promise to Trump past year, when Beijing was still courting the then-newly elected president.

Ma, who's planning on retiring next year, has also said the global business community is opposed to the trade war.

While Uhuru said the trade expo provides a platform for more win-win partnerships, his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jingping said his country would take proactive measures to correct the trade imbalance between Kenya and China.

The United States and China are locked in a battle over trade, with Trump complaining about the trade gap between the two countries and accusing China of stealing intellectual property and imposing policies that make it more hard for US companies to access the Chinese market.

Nations "should not just point fingers at others to gloss over their own problems", he said, likening the U.S. attitude to "the law of the jungle". "They shouldn't always whitewash themselves and blame others, or act like a flashlight that only exposes others but not themselves".

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday met with representatives of foreign entrepreneurs attending the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

About 180 United States companies are sending representatives, including big names such as Alphabet Inc's Google, Boeing Co, Caterpillar Inc, Facebook Inc, General Motors Co, Honeywell International Inc, Microsoft Corp, Tesla Inc and Qualcomm Inc.

But trading partners and foreign enterprises say he is yet to put his money where his mouth is, and they are exhausted of empty promises.

"It seems like there were good statements and good headlines, but what we want are concrete actions and a concrete timetable of reform", said Carlo Diego D'Andrea, the Shanghai chairman for the European chamber. "It's a great opportunity for the world", he said.

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Foreign businesses complain about a range of preferential policies that benefit local firms, requirements that foreign companies form joint ventures with Chinese partners, forced technology transfers, rampant intellectual property violations and restrictive red tape.

Presidents or prime ministers from 17 countries were set to attend the expo, ranging from Russian Federation and Pakistan to the Cook Islands, though none from major Western nations.

China ranks 59th out of 62 countries on openness to foreign direct investment, according to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranking.

But US officials say that approach amounts to China buying its way out of trouble with a short-term import surge rather than real change, and Washington snubbed the gathering by not sending high-level representation.

But the lure of China remains strong and the U.S. contingent includes even tech giants such as Facebook, which is blocked in China, and Google, which pulled out years ago over censorship and cyber-attacks.

Both are seen as eyeing new ways into China.

China is hosting the first ever import expo that is attended by participants from over 130 countries among them Kenyan horticultural farmers and traders.

The six-day event starting Monday is the world's first import-themed national-level expo.

Mr Trump raised hopes of an agreement on trade last week after he said the sides had a "very good" phone conversation that had a heavy emphasis on trade.

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