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China urgently needs economic reform, says European Chamber

Bloomberg/Beijing 11 Jul 18 | 12:44 AM

China flag Photo: Shutterstock

China urgently needs to build on its much—vaunted opening to outside investors by releasing a clear timeline for its reform agenda and working to put international and domestic companies on an equal footing, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said.

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Since a new thrust by President Xi Jinping toward opening the world’s second-largest economy was set out last year, more has been announced than implemented and much of that has been of limited use to non-Chinese companies, the chamber said in a report released on Tuesday in Beijing.

The chamber’s comments contrast with the tone struck by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Monday, who following a meeting with Premier Li Keqiang praised China for opening up to foreign investment, drawing a contrast with trade conflicts burdening both countries’ relations with the US. 

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The report follows the results of a survey published last month by the chamber which found that while European companies see some progress on business conditions in China, almost two—thirds of firms think there’s a lack of reciprocity between how they’re treated and the conditions Chinese firms enjoy abroad.

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That sense of double—standards is helping fuel the trade tensions currently being seen, according to the report.

Xi pledges $23 bn for Arab nations 

China’s President Xi Jinping pledged more than $23 billion in lines of credit, loans and humanitarian assistance to Arab countries on Tuesday in a major push for influence in the region from which China sources much of its energy needs. Xi told participants in a conference of Arab leaders in Beijing that Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon would receive  $91 million in humanitarian assistance. Another $151 million was earmarked for aid projects, with the remaining $23 billion designated for financial and economic cooperation, Xi said. No details were given about how or when the money would be dispersed. “China and Arab states must synergise our development strategies in pursuit of our respective dream of rejuvenation," Xi said. AP/PTI

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