Premier says China supports globalization, free trade

Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday in Beijing that China will stick to its commitment to championing economic globalization and free trade, amid growing concerns over the country's unfair trade practices and lower-than-expected pace of opening up of its economy.

Speaking at his annual press conference at the end of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, Li said that China is ready to "work with other countries to improve the global governance system" and "will quicken the pace of opening its economy", as the process of globalization is facing some setbacks.

"Like many other countries in the world, China is also the beneficiary of globalization ... Therefore, we will open our door wider and wider, but the openness should be realized step by step," Li said.

At the news conference, the Chinese premier boasted some achievements China has made in promoting free trade. They included use of the successful experience of Shanghai's free trade pilot zone in many other parts of China and the efforts of reaching agreements with other countries in free trade and investment.

"We are confident that we can build China into a hot investment destination with a high degree of openness," he said.

Li also said that China is open to any regional free trade arrangement and is willing to participate in and promote any agreement that is beneficial to trade liberalization. But he stressed that China will not do things beyond its responsibility.

Li made the remarks in response to a question raised by a Bloomberg reporter about China's willingness to take leadership in global trade, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the TPP, many TPP members have invited China to join the international trade deal. But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi did not give a clear answer to the invitation when his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop asked China to consider participation in the TPP.

In 2016, China attracted foreign funds of $126 billion, claiming the top spot among the developing countries, a result attributed by the Chinese premier to the country's improved business environment.

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