Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at an annual meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia in Boao, in the southern Chinese province of Hainan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 10, 2018. (Kyodo/via REUTERS)
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President Xi Jinping promised Tuesday to cut China's auto tariffs and improve intellectual property protection in possible concessions aimed at defusing a worsening dispute with Washington over trade and technology that investors worry could set back the global economic recovery.Xi tried to position China as a defender of free trade and cooperation, despite its status as the most-closed major economy, in response to Trump's "America first" calls for import restrictions and trade deals that are more favorable to the United States.Xi gave no details on how those conditions might change, leaving it unclear whether that might mollify Washington.Jake Parker, the vice president for China of the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents companies that deal with China, welcomed Xi's announcement but expressed hope for additional steps such as ending requirements for joint ventures and technology licensing.Xi repeated pledges to open China's finance industries to foreign investors but gave no additional details.China reported a global trade surplus of $423 billion last year -- about two-thirds of that with the United States.The bulk of Xi's 40-minute speech was devoted to China's vision for economic development and its global role following a ruling party congress in October that confirmed him as the most dominant Chinese leader since at least the 1980s.
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