Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng is set to address a conference of executives at the nation’s third Belt and Road Forum, as Beijing tries to reinvigorate its signature infrastructure project while shoring up its slowing domestic economy.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng is set to address a conference of executives at the nation’s third Belt and Road Forum, as Beijing tries to reinvigorate its signature infrastructure project while shoring up its slowing domestic economy.
He is scheduled to deliver a major speech at the CEO event scheduled Tuesday afternoon, which will also feature addresses from Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee as well as top officials from Standard Chartered Plc, the China Chamber of International Commerce and others.
The vice premier is President Xi Jinping’s point man for shoring up the nation’s embattled property industry and the financial sector. Under a reshuffle earlier this year, all of China’s financial regulators — including the People’s Bank of China and the newly-created super financial watchdog — were placed under He’s purview.
Guests are descending on Beijing for the forum, which comes as China celebrates the 10th anniversary of the flagship Belt and Road initiative. While the project has drawn $1 trillion in its first decade, momentum has tapered in recent years amid concern over debt sustainability.
In recent months, He, 68, has met with high-level foreign officials including US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. During their August meeting, Raimondo told the vice premier that the US-China commercial relationship “is one of the most globally consequential.”
He also met last month with Europe’s top trade chief just as the EU announced a probe into China’s electric vehicle subsidies. He expressed “concern and dissatisfaction” over the investigation, but avoided aggressive rhetoric in favor of agreeing to working groups on financial services and trade curbs.
He is seen as a close confidante of Xi and spent more than two decades in Fujian, one of the first regions that opened up to foreign investment.
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