Beijing: President Xi Jinping pledged to provide a better business environment for foreign firms as the U.S. pushes to rewire supply chains in Asia and Chinese companies come under increased scrutiny abroad.
“We will continue efforts to deepen reform and opening, and provide a more sound business environment for Chinese and overseas investors,” Xi wrote in a brief reply letter to a group of global chief executives, published Thursday by the official Xinhua News Agency. “Your decision to stay and develop in China is a correct choice.”
Chinese companies operating abroad — most notably the tech giant Huawei Technologies Co — have faced questions over their government ties in recent months. The U.K. on Tuesday joined a handful of other nations in banning Huawei equipment from its next-generation mobile networks, citing security risks.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has been pushing American and other foreign companies to move their supply chains out of China, and even publicly floated the need for a group of friendly nations in Asia that could help produce essential goods. Earlier this week, the U.S. president signed legislation that would sanction Chinese officials responsible for quelling political dissent in semi-autonomous Hong Kong.
Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Trump had ruled out additional sanctions on top Chinese officials for the moment to calm tensions with Beijing. His team had drawn up a list of Chinese officials including Vice Premier Han Zheng, who along with Xi is one of China’s seven most powerful officials on the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, Bloomberg reported. The New York Times separately reported that the White House was considering barring all Communist Party members from traveling to the U.S.
Responding to the reports on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said they were “just pathetic” if true.
“The U.S. is the biggest country, but what impression does it want to leave to the world?” she said at a daily news briefing in Beijing. “We hope the U.S. can refrain from doing anything undermining the basic norms governing international relations or undercutting its image as a major country in the world.”
Hua also called the U.S. campaign against Huawei a “dirty trick” after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the U.S. will impose visa restrictions on some employees over the Communist Party’s human-rights abuses against minority Muslims in the far west region of Xinjiang. While the U.S. argues that the Chinese technology company could be used by the government in Beijing as a back door for spying on Americans, Huawei has said it operates independently.
“The U.S. claims itself a champion of democratic and free values,” Hua said. “Now it cannot even allow a normal foreign private company to exist and develop.”
More than a dozen representatives from the Global CEO Council wrote a letter to Xi offering suggestions on China’s economic development and Sino-foreign cooperation, according to Xinhua. Premier Li Keqiang met with members of the council last year, including the chairmans or CEOs of United Parcel Service Inc., Volkswagen AG, Rio Tinto Plc, Nokia Oyj, Schneider Electric SE, ABB Ltd., and ArcelorMittal SA, according to the official China Daily newspaper.
China announced Thursday that its economy is recovering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with gross domestic product growing 3.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier. – Bloomberg