Visitors stand near a helicopter displayed at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. Chinese President Xi Jinping promised Monday to open China wider to imports at the start of a high-profile trade fair meant to rebrand the country as a global customer but offered no response to U.S. and European complaints about technology policy and curbs on foreign business. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Import extravaganza highlights China's promise, challenges

November 07, 2018 - 10:12 pm

SHANGHAI (AP) — Visitors to a vast trade fair meant to rebrand China as a welcoming import market could sip Moroccan wine, ogle Italian yachts and watch a Japanese industrial robot play ping-pong.

The communist government's marketing extravaganza in Shanghai this week involved 3,600 companies from 152 countries. It showcases the promise and challenges of China's growing, state-dominated and intensely competitive markets.

Eager to dispel complaints they abuse the global trading system, China's leaders are touting its growing demand for foreign food, luxury brands, entertainment and other goods.

The promotion of consumer spending to help drive self-sustaining economic growth and reduce reliance on trade and investment, holds out the promise of a market of 1.4 billion consumers, even if incomes are a fraction of those in developed countries.

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