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China’s premier defends national competitiveness amid trade tensions

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China’s Premier Li Qiang speaks during the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 16, 2024. 

Denis Balibouse | Reuters

DALIAN, China — Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Tuesday defended the country’s technological development while criticizing efforts to restrict global cooperation.

His remarks, at the opening of the World Economic Forum’s “Summer Davos” meeting in Dalian, China, came amid rising tensions with the EU over imports of Chinese electric cars.

“The rapid rise of China’s new industries is rooted in our unique comparative advantages,” Li said via an official English translation of his Mandarin-language remarks.

He noted the country’s large market, industrial network, labor force, diverse application scenarios and receptive consumers.

“That is how China’s emerging industries get their competitiveness,” Li said.

Earlier this month, the EU announced plans for tariffs on imports of Chinese electric cars. The U.S. has said it will raise duties on the vehicles to 100%.

China and the EU have reportedly agreed to discuss the potential tariffs.

“In many ways the depth of international cooperation determines the height of human development, so it’s essential that we embrace each other with open arms,” Li said, noting the need to “reject” confrontation.

At the Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, in January, Li had said in a speech that technological innovation shouldn’t be used as a way to restrict other countries.

Beijing has repeatedly asked Washington to remove restrictions on Chinese companies that prevent them from buying advanced technology from U.S. firms.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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