Chinese President meets CEOs of leading US companies

After FDI decreased, Mr. Xi Jinping met with leaders of businesses such as Blackstone, FedEx and Qualcomm to urge them to increase investment in China.

On March 27, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with American business leaders in Beijing. The world's second largest economy is looking for ways to stimulate growth, after foreign direct investment (FDI) fell 8% last year.

Reuters sources said the meeting lasted about 90 minutes, with about 20 leaders, such as Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, FedEx CEO Raj Subramaniam and Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon. The meeting was organized by the National Committee on US-China Relations, the US-China Business Council and the Asia Society research organization.

At the meeting, President Xi invited American businesses to "continue to invest in China" and pledged to continue reforms to open the market for foreign businesses, according to an announcement by the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "We are confident that China's growth prospects are very bright," he said, adding that the economy has not yet peaked.

Mr. Xi also called for creating a "better future" between the US and China. "Whether it is traditional fields such as economics, trade and agriculture, or new fields such as climate change and artificial intelligence, China and the US should support each other for mutual development," he said. .

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the APEC Summit Week in San Francisco in November 2023. Photo: AFP

Beijing is trying to restore confidence and stabilize foreign trade and investment in the context of facing the biggest economic challenges in decades. Since last year, the country has launched a series of stimulus policies, including the 24-point action plan announced earlier this month, to attract foreign investment and promote high-tech industries.

Over the past few years, China's focus on national security has made many foreign businesses hesitant, even when Chinese leaders openly called for foreign investors. Last month's survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China showed that 57% of US companies are not confident that Beijing will increase market openness for foreign businesses.

However, the US and China have recently gradually resumed many activities, after relations between the two sides had deteriorated over the years due to trade and political issues. In November 2023, the Chinese President also had dinner with American CEOs in San Francisco.

Chinese Prime Minister: Economic risks are not too serious right now
Prime Minister Li Qiang calmed investors' concerns about risks in real estate and local government debt, and said China would increase support policies.

At the China Development Forum on March 24, Mr. Li said they still have a lot of room for macro policy, because inflation is currently "relatively low" and government debt is not high. He said demand in China "remains weak".

Mr. Ly admitted that many investors are currently concerned about risks in the real estate sector and local government debt. However, he said that "some difficulties and problems are not as serious as people think".

The Chinese Prime Minister said their efforts to limit risks in these areas have been effective.

Chinese general Li Qiang at the event on March 24. Photo: Reuters

Since the beginning of the year, the world's second largest economy has received many positive figures. Exports, industrial production, investment... exceeded forecasts. This reduces the pressure on officials to add economic stimulus policies in the short term. However, economists believe that the country needs more policy support to achieve its growth target of around 5% this year.

In the long term, China faces many challenges, from the longest deflationary streak since the 1990s, the real estate crisis to declining foreign investor confidence.

Last year, new foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country fell to a 30-year low. The cause is geopolitical tensions and higher external interest rates. This year, Chinese officials pledged to focus on attracting foreign capital.

At yesterday's forum, Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva said China's GDP could increase sharply in the next 15 years, if they implement widespread reforms, including real estate and domestic consumption. location, investment environment, policy framework and electricity prices.

"With comprehensive reform, China could grow significantly faster," she said. The IMF estimates that China's GDP could increase by $3,500 billion if reformed.

Prime Minister Lee outlined several policies the country's officials plan to implement to boost domestic demand this year. That is, reducing barriers when entering the domestic market, granting urban household registration to rural migrants, as well as encouraging consumers and businesses to replace old appliances and equipment.

He also emphasized that China is focusing on developing advanced technology. New growth drivers are consolidated. Loan interest rates will decrease further. The Chinese Prime Minister affirmed that the country will not accept long-term risks in exchange for short-term growth.

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