China to further open up economy, slams rising protectionism

‘China has opened its door to the world; we will never close it but open it even wider,’ Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a published article. (Reuters)
Updated 12 November 2018
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China to further open up economy, slams rising protectionism

  • ‘China has opened its door to the world; we will never close it but open it even wider’

SINGAPOR: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday Beijing will further open up its economy in the face of rising protectionism, as he headed for meetings with Asia-Pacific leaders in Singapore that are expected to focus on trade tensions.
Li’s remarks in an article in Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper, ahead of his arrival in the city-state later in the day, came as Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for more regional integration, saying multilateralism was under threat from political pressures.
“China has opened its door to the world; we will never close it but open it even wider,” Li said in the article, in which he called for an “open world economy” in the face of “rising protectionism and unilateralism.” He did not directly refer to China’s bruising trade war with the United States.
Notably absent from this week’s meetings is US President Donald Trump, who has said several existing multilateral trade deals are unfair, and has railed against China over intellectual property theft, entry barriers to US businesses and a gaping trade deficit.
Vice President Mike Pence will attend instead of Trump, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are among those also expected to join Li and the ten-member member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
It was not clear if Li and Pence will hold separate talks on the sidelines of the meetings, which would be a prelude to a summit scheduled between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the end of the month in Buenos Aires.
The encounter, if it happens, would come on the heels of high-level talks in Washington where the two sides aired their main differences but appeared to attempt controlling the damage to relations that has worsened with tit-for-tat tariffs in recent months.
Meanwhile, in remarks at a business summit on Monday ahead of this week’s meetings, Singapore PM Lee said:
“ASEAN has great potential, but fully realizing it depends on whether we choose to become more integrated, and work resolutely toward this goal in a world where multilateralism is fraying under political pressures.”
Lee has previously warned that the US-China trade war could have a “big, negative impact” on Singapore, and the city-state’s central bank has warned it could soon drag on the economy.
Both Singapore and China are expected to rally support for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact now being negotiated, showcased to be the free trade deal that will encompass more than a third of the world’s GDP.
The pact includes 16 countries, including China, India, Japan and South Korea, but not the United States. Li said China would work to “expedite” RCEP negotiations this week.
Also on Monday, the ten-member ASEAN group reached their first ever deal on e-commerce aimed at helping boost cross-border transactions in the region.


Paris Air Show: After Boeing showstopper, Airbus seeks order bounce

Updated 19 June 2019
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Paris Air Show: After Boeing showstopper, Airbus seeks order bounce

  • British Airways owner IAG signs letter of intent to buy 200 of its 737 MAX jets
  • Airbus is looking for up to 200 orders for the A321XLR, which is designed to open up new routes

PARIS: Airbus, reeling from the potential loss of a major customer for its best-selling A320neo as British Airways owner IAG placed a lifeline order for the grounded 737 MAX, prepared to hit back with more orders for its A321XLR on Wednesday.
The planemaker has been negotiating with US airlines investor Bill Franke whose Indigo Partners has also been known to place orders for multiple airlines within its portfolio and could reel it in for the Paris Air Show, industry sources said.
Airbus declined to comment.
After weathering intense scrutiny over safety and its public image, Boeing won a vote of confidence on Tuesday as IAG signed a letter of intent to buy 200 of its 737 MAX jets that have been grounded since March after two deadly crashes.
The surprise order lifted the energy of a previously subdued Paris Airshow, where the talk had been of the possible end of the aerospace cycle, given the issues at both Boeing and Airbus as well as geopolitical and trade tensions around the world.
Australia’s Qantas Airways said on Tuesday it would order 10 Airbus new A321XLR jets and convert a further 26 from existing orders already on the Airbus books.
Airbus is also in talks with leasing company GECAS and has been trying to secure an eye-catching order for the A321XLR from American Airlines, though the world’s largest carrier does not typically make announcements at air shows.
Airbus is looking for up to 200 orders for the A321XLR, which is designed to open up new routes.