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Chinese President Xi Jinping to Meet CEOs, Seek Foreign Investment

Chinese President Xi Jinping is reportedly set to meet with a group of U.S. business leaders next week in Beijing, seeking to attract American firms amidst a decline in foreign investment.

The meeting, set for Wednesday (March 27), will include Evan Greenberg, CEO of insurer ChubbStephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Thursday (March 21).

This meeting will follow the China Development Forum, an annual gathering where global business leaders meet Chinese policymakers to discuss topics such as China’s economic growth, artificial intelligence and climate change, according to the report.

This year’s forum is particularly significant as China grapples with economic challenges, including a slowdown, weak consumption and declining private-sector investment, the report said. Foreign companies are also seeking assurances from Beijing regarding inconsistent regulations and rising operational risks.

American CEOs, who were notably absent from last year’s forum due to strained political relations between the U.S. and China, are expected to make a strong presence this year, per the report. The U.S. will have the largest global business delegation, accounting for 34 out of the more than 85 top executives attending the event.

Attendees will include Tim Cook of AppleStephen Schwarzman of BlackstoneKen Griffin of Citadel and Noel Quinn of HSBC, according to the report.

The meeting between Xi and U.S. CEOs is a follow-up to a dinner hosted by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the U.S.-China Business Council for Xi in San Francisco last November, the report said. During that dinner, Xi sought American corporations’ help in easing bilateral tensions but provided no reassurances regarding Beijing’s focus on national security and perceived Western threats.

Executives attending the meeting are likely to emphasize the impact of U.S.-China tensions on commerce and express hope for stable ties, per the report. They may also raise concerns about data-transfer regulations, market-access barriers, government procurement and subsidies.

It was reported in December that China has been facing declining exports, a slowdown in manufacturing and a property slump. The effects of the country’s economic downturn have been felt by China’s consumers, including even members of the middle to upper class.