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Australian business leaders, academics applaud Xi's Boao speech
Last Updated: 2018-04-12 00:08 | Xinhua
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Australian business leaders, academics and journalists welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech on Tuesday at the Boao Forum for Asia, saying that numerous countries stand to benefit from China's global development plans.

Australian mining company Fortescue Metals' CEO Elizabeth Gaines told Xinhua she feels upbeat about the current economic conditions in the Asia Pacific region, despite the current Sino-U.S. "trade dispute."

"President Xi spoke very positively on the new phase of China's opening up, building on the highly successful economic reforms over the past 40 years, and particularly noting that China's door will open wider through a range of strong measures to further grow market access, open financial markets and liberalize foreign investment," said the business leader.

"These initiatives will further build China's global competitiveness, with the Belt and Road Initiative also set to drive continued development for the benefit of all economies," she said.

"As a major supplier of iron ore with the majority of our customers in China, we are confident in the growth prospects and long-term fundamentals of the Chinese market and other emerging economies in the Asian region," she added.

Meanwhile, academics and journalists in Australia appeared somewhat eased by the tone of the speech, amid concerns stemming from U.S. President Donald Trump's protectionist trade policies.

"With Mr. Trump tweeting all manner of ribald attacks on domestic and foreign foes from the White House, Xi has been left to take the high road on his own, alone among major powers, in defence of global trade and economic openness," senior fellow Richard Mcgregor wrote in an article for the Lowy Institute, an independent think tank based in Sydney, Australia.

On the foreign exchange market, the sharp rise in the Aussie dollar after the address saw the local currency jump 0.5 percent to 77.35 U.S. cents, its highest level since late March.

Xi reaffirmed the outlook for Chinese trade policy, helping "calm investor nerves that have been rattled over the past month as trade tensions between the United States and China increased," financial reporter David Scutt wrote on Wednesday for the Business Insider Australia.

"In a widely flagged speech yesterday (Tuesday) China's President Xi struck a mature and conciliatory tone on global trade," CMC Markets' chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said.

"And industrial commodities and related currencies rallied as relieved investors piled into shares," said McCarthy.

"Welcoming comments from U.S. President (Donald) Trump this morning also further fuelled the enthusiasm," added the market analyst.

"Very thankful for President Xi of China's kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers ... also, his enlightenment on intellectual property and technology transfers," Trump said on his Twitter account.

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