China’s Premier Li Keqiang to host talks with global trade and finance leaders before G20 central bank governors’ meeting

China’s Premier Li Keqiang will host “roundtable” talks with the heads of major international finance and trade organisations in Beijing on Friday on topics including economic growth, reform and financial matters, the Foreign Ministry said.

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The unprecedented meeting – the day before Saturday’s Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu – will provide a platform for Li to assure the world that China’s economic growth is fine.

The “6+1” roundtable meeting, which has never been arranged before, also underlines Beijing’s ambitions to expand its influence in multilateral institutions.

Those attending the roundtable talks will be World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, World Trade Organisation director-general Roberto Azevedo, International Labour Organisation director-general Guy Ryder, Angel Gurria,

secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Financial Stability Board chairman Mark Carney.

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“Such communication and discussion … should help to create better understanding of what the Chinese government is trying to do and what the challenges are,” said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia for Oxford Economics in Hong Kong.

Such communication and discussion … should help to create better understanding of what the Chinese government is trying to do and what the challenges are

Louis Kuijs, Oxford Economics

Li is among those [Chinese policymakers] who are most comfortable in talking to international economists and experts … and I think he will be a good advocate for China.”

As Beijing’s domestic economic slowdown persists and the debt situation worsens, the Chinese government is trying to sell its narrative that growth is on track, reform is under way and it is wrong to expect the yuan to weaken sharply.

At the same time, Beijing policymakers are also eager to get a clearer picture of the global situation, from possible Federal Reserve rate moves to the fallout of the British electorate’s vote to leave the European Union.

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At the central banker and finance minister gathering in Shanghai in February, Li delivered a video speech to the conference from Beijing and reiterated that the Chinese yuan had no basis for continuous depreciation.

The yuan against the dollar has weakened about 2 per cent since then.

Hangzhou, the Zhejiang province capital, will host the G20 summit of world leaders in September.

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