Beijing opposes the principle of protectionism and wants to strengthen supply chains with all countries, Premier Li Qiang said on Tuesday (28/11), as a growing number of countries voice concerns about how dependent their supply chains are on China.
In his opening speech at the first five-day International Supply Chain Expo, Li said, “China is not only a participant and beneficiary of global industrial and supply chain cooperation, but also a strong defender and builder.”
Li offered a four-point proposal that included, “all parties should jointly build open and inclusive industrial and supply chains, and firmly oppose protectionism and all forms of segregation and disruption to industrial and supply chains.”
China hosted the expo after US and European Union companies this year took steps to “de-risk” their supply chains by leaving China, despite Beijing asking them to remain investors.
But geopolitical tensions, such as Russia’s war in Ukraine and anxiety over a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, have made companies that remain in China wary of expanding. Instead, they invest in countries that have stronger ties to the United States, such as Vietnam.
Zhang Shaogang, vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, one of the exhibition hosts, said in a press conference on November 21 that 515 companies and organizations from 55 countries and regions would attend the event.
Participants from abroad made up 26% of the 515 companies and organizations, and of that group, about a fifth were from the US.
“There are many industry leaders,” Zhang said. “A number of Fortune 500 and multinational companies, such as Amazon, ExxonMobil, Apple, Tesla, Qualcomm, sent senior representatives to the conference.”
Wang Hsiu-wen, a research assistant at the National Defense and Security Research Institute in Taipem, told VOA in a telephone interview on Tuesday that China must wake up to the fact that its investment climate is deteriorating.
“Foreign companies like Apple have left China. “What China is trying to say now is: We have advantages in a number of new industries, please reinvest, we have opportunities, and China has a big market,” said Wang. (ps/rs)