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China’s Xi Jinping appeals to decades-old mantra of reform, eyeing economic jolt

EconomyChina Economy

China’s Xi Jinping appeals to decades-old mantra of reform and opening up, as economy slows and foreign investors ponder leaving

President addresses oft-mentioned gripes among the international community, acknowledging that China must do more to open up to the rest of the worldAnd Xi says free-trade zones, which brought in 18 per cent of China’s foreign direct investment last year, must be more innovative to achieve breakthroughsChina tradeMandy Zuoin ShanghaiPublished: 8:28pm, 27 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

China’s top leadership gathered and took a long, hard look at the rules of the World Trade Organization on Wednesday. Afterward, President Xi Jinping used a word that he has not touched on for a few months: reform.

At the Politburo group study session, Xi also reiterated that China needs to be more proactive in playing by international trade rules while doing more to open up to the rest of the world – addressing two persistent gripes among much of the international community.

“This year marks the 45th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. We must continue it to open the door wider and steady the reforms,” Xi said, adding that the country must “further generate import potential, loosen market access, deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation, and improve its attractiveness to foreign capital”.

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Xi’s comments came just one day after he called for a greater opening up of China’s free-trade zones (FTZs), showing how Chinese authorities at all levels are in an all-out push to lure overseas investors amid growing concerns about the country’s business environment and economic prospects.

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