China’s premier pledged that his nation would expand access to markets and also boost imports, which have fallen this year.

"We will continue to promote opening up, with greater inclusiveness and benefit sharing,” Li Qiang said in a speech Sunday to start the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, adding that China "will actively expand imports.”

China’s No. 2 official also vowed "to protect the rights and interests of foreign investors in accordance with the law,” comments that come after a measure of foreign investment into the world’s second-largest economy turned negative for the first time since records began in 1998.