China's Xi is again calling for free trade

China's Xi is again calling for free trade

SHANGHAI, China – For the third time since the election of US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping has stepped onto the global scene to repeat his rhetoric against protectionism and promote his country as an advocate of international openness and cooperation.

The Monday speech takes place less than 48 hours ahead of the US midterm elections, where the world is looking for signs that the Trump government can maintain its political momentum. Tuesday's contests could also have an impact on Washington's external relations as tensions between the world's two largest economies escalated.

Last week, the major stock indices rose in renewed hope that Trump and Xi were approaching a trade agreement. However, White House officials later rejected the idea of ​​an upcoming deal. The two Heads of State and Government will meet later this month at the G20 summit in Argentina.

Meanwhile, China is bidding for the weeklong China International Import Expo as a major buyer of goods worldwide. More than 3,600 companies have registered for the Expo and 172 countries and regions will participate according to the event website.

Beijing has designated 12 countries as "special guests" for the fair: Russia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa and Vietnam. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, tweeted Sunday, she looks forward to attending the Expo in Shanghai.

However, many large Western nations are generally less enthusiastic. According to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no person appeared on a list of 18 heads of state who would attend the Expo at the invitation of Xi. While 180 US companies have signed up to the Expo, the Trump government is reportedly not sending high-level government officials.

Reuters and CNBC's Huileng Tan contributed to the report.

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