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Recent Developments in China’s International Trade Engagement

16th June 2017

While the Trump administration’s trade and economic policies remain uncertain, China has doubled down on bilateral and multilateral negotiations and initiatives, with high-level rhetoric to match. At last November’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru, President Xi Jinping told delegates, “China will not shut its door to the outside world, but open more.” In an hour-long address to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this January, Xi once again stressed the importance of global trade relations, saying, “No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war … pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room.” And in his keynote address to the May 14-15 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, Xi called for nations to “defend and develop an open world economy.” Amid US reticence to bear the burden of global economic leadership, China’s active, outspoken diplomacy suggests an attempt to step into the role. But the devil is in the details, and Chinese initiatives reveal the country still has room to grow as globalization’s champion.

 

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