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Xi Jinping visits manufacturing hub Yiwu to hear about efforts to boost foreign trade

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President Xi Jinping visited the manufacturing hub of Yiwu in eastern China on Wednesday to see how exporters are trying to boost foreign trade, state news agency Xinhua reported.
Xi is in Zhejiang province to attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Saturday, as well as a banquet and meetings with foreign leaders at the event.
He is expected to be joined at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre for the ceremony by Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.
Xi Jinping visits the village of Lizu, in Zhejiang province. Photo: Xinhua
Hong Kong’s leader John Lee Ka-chiu, who is scheduled to travel to mainland China on Friday, will also attend the ceremony, as well as visit the athletes’ village to meet the city’s delegation.

Ahead of the Asian Games, Xi on Wednesday visited Lizu, a village hailed as a success story of Beijing’s push to revitalise rural areas.

Xi also went to Yiwu in Jinhua – home to the world’s largest wholesale market for small manufactured goods – where he heard about “the development of distinctive local industries, efforts to promote rural revitalisation and boost foreign trade”, according to the Xinhua report on Thursday.

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Yiwu, which is seen as a barometer for Chinese exports and a symbolic place for entrepreneurship, has been hit by reduced international demand and the effect of China’s tensions with the United States and its allies.

Is China’s slice of export pie melting as geopolitical uncertainties heat up?

The Chinese leader’s tour came soon after Beijing announced a series of initiatives to prop up the country’s private economy, which was battered during the pandemic and has remained sluggish this year.

Cabinet on Wednesday also urged local governments and state-owned enterprises to speed up on addressing the issue of overdue payments to private businesses.

Beijing is seeking to improve confidence among entrepreneurs, promising equal treatment for private companies, political backing to tear down market-entry barriers for private entrepreneurs, along with legal backing, tax cuts and financial incentives.

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The village of Lizu is home to 700 people who have seen their collective income increase because of land sales, house rentals and tourism, according to a report by its local government. The report said it had also invested in infrastructure such as roads and renewal projects in the village.

Xi also went to Shaoxing on Wednesday, visiting an exhibition commemorating the “Fengqiao experience” – a relic from the Mao Zedong era in which the masses were mobilised to take on instability at the grass roots. Xi also visited the city’s East Zhejiang Canal Cultural Park.

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