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Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with US business representatives

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with US business representatives

Official media reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping met on Wednesday with representatives of American companies, as part of Beijing's efforts to attract foreign investment and reassure American companies in the face of the economic slowdown.

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in London. File image: UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, via Flickr CC2.0.

“On the morning of March 27, President Xi Jinping met with representatives of the American business community… in the Great Hall of the People (Beijing),” state broadcaster CCTV said.

“Before the meeting started, Xi Jinping took a group photo with them,” he added.

State media did not say who attended the meeting, which it said was also attended by representatives of academia.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, reported last week that a meeting was being prepared between Xi and the heads of US business lobby groups.

The meeting also comes just days after the China Development Forum in Beijing, which was attended by Apple CEO Tim Cook and other senior executives.

“I think China is really opening up, and I'm very happy to be here,” the tech giant's CEO told a CGTN reporter, according to a video posted on one of the state-run broadcaster's social media accounts.

Chinese officials have struggled for months to revive economic growth as they face a host of headwinds, including a protracted real estate crisis, rising youth unemployment, and a global slowdown that is weighing on demand for Chinese goods.

Low growth target

China's GDP growth rates have been trending downward for years, and Beijing this month set an annual target of “about five percent” — far below the rapid rates of expansion that have fueled the country's meteoric rise to prosperity.

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Crucial economic ties between China and the United States have also been damaged, with the two powers clashing over hot-button issues ranging from technology and trade to human rights as well as over the self-governing island of Taiwan and the South China Sea.

American companies in China increasingly complain about what they see as an unfair business environment, with limited intellectual property protection and preferential treatment given to local competitors.

These concerns were exacerbated last year by a widespread crackdown on American consulting firms operating in China.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo warned in August that doing business in China could become “too risky” for U.S. companies without changes to the regulatory environment.

China has dismissed these concerns, touting its openness to foreign investment and promising to do more to help them.

Last November, Xi spoke to US business leaders following a summit with President Joe Biden in San Francisco, promising to “build more bridges and pave more ways for people-to-people interactions.”

Datelines:

Beijing, China

Story type: news service

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