China is open to the world Vice-Premier Liu says at World Economic Forum

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China welcomes foreign investment and will continue to open up to the world, the country’s Vice-Premier Liu He told the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on Tuesday.

The country is confident that its economy will return to its normal growth trend in 2023 and expects a noticeable increase in imports, corporate investments and consumption, he added in a speech that mentioned strengthening international cooperation and maintaining world peace 11 times.

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Beijing will also continue to support the private sector, promote fair competition and deepen reform of its state giants, he added, saying that some suggestions that it could return to a planned economy path were impossible.

“China will always promote all-round opening up, and improve the level and quality of opening up,” he said. “Foreign investments are welcome in China, and the door to China will only open up further.”

Liu’s visit to the Swiss ski resort marks the first trip abroad by a high-level Chinese delegation since Beijing last month abruptly began dropping its “zero-COVID-19” curbs that shielded its 1.4 billion people from the virus but also cut off China from the rest of the world for the past three years.

His comments mark one of China’s most explicit signals that it is keen to re-engage on key issues and attract investment as it tries to jump-start an economy that grew just 3 percent last year, one of its worst performances in half a century and missing a target of 5.5 percent.

Its Davos turnout also contrasts with the conspicuous absence of Russia, a key ally and whose invasion of Ukraine China has refused to condemn.

Recent weeks have seen a thawing in relations between Beijing and Canberra after a change in Australia’s government, paving the way for China to resume coal imports from Australia after a three-year halt.

In November, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden met on the Indonesian island of Bali in November, and the two sides agreed to follow-ups including a planned visit to China by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in early 2023.

At Davos, Liu will meet leaders from other countries and members of the business community including CEOs from finance, tech, consumer and industrial companies, a Chinese official familiar with the matter told Reuters.

On Wednesday, he will meet US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Zurich, their first in-person meeting though they have met virtually three times since she took office.

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