Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

China's Premier talks up free trade, vows cooperation

China has no intention of devaluing its currency to boost exports, as the move does no good for companies' transformation and upgrading, Li said.

"We don't want to use the exchange rate to boost exports", Mr Li said, adding that it would be detrimental to the government's efforts to bolster the competitiveness of Chinese companies.

"China hopes that, no matter what bumps this relationship may run into, it will continue to forge in the right direction".

Trump has also castigated China for its military presence in the South China Sea.

President Donald Trump has promised to take a tough line with China over bilateral trade.

Last year, the worldwide foreign exchange market experienced some volatility, and major currencies depreciated against the USA dollar, Li said at the annual press conference here, without directly referring to Trump's charge that China manipulated currency to boost its export revenues.

He went on to say that China does not want to see a trade war between the world's biggest and second biggest economies.

The Government is hoping to expand GDP by about 6.5 per cent this year - a slowdown from 6.7 per cent growth last year.

"But I believe that our economic performance in the past several years. should suffice to put a full stop to such prophesies of a hard landing".

"Almost every year I have heard a prediction of the Chinese economy having a hard landing", Li said at the highly staged event, where journalists are pre-selected to ask questions.

The economy ultimately grew 6.7 percent previous year.

Figures released in recent weeks have shown that the economy got off to a strong start this year, though growth appears still heavily dependent on credit, infrastructure investment and the property market.

Mr Li also defended China's currency policies ahead of an annual review by the US Treasury that could recommend penalties if it deems Beijing to be a "currency manipulator".

"We need to take very seriously the risks we are facing on the domestic front, especially in the financial sector".

The RMB has solid presence in the worldwide currency system and the RMB exchange rate will remain generally stable, according to Li.

"This relationship is crucial not just for China and the United States but also for regional and global peace and security", he said. "We still have a good reserve of policy options and instruments at our disposal".

"China has been focusing on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and other free trade deals with countries and regional organizations including the Gulf Cooperation Council and Israel", said Jiang Shan, a researcher at the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization.

A high-standard BIT between China and the European Union will aid bilateral opening-up, said Li.

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