June 22 (UPI) -- Chief executives of multinational companies doing business in China were invited to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as tensions escalate over a looming U.S.-China trade war.
The group Thursday included the top executives of Volkswagen, Cargill, UPS and Hyatt Hotels, but some executives declined to attend amid controversy over trade, the Financial Times reported Friday.
The United States is expected to impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of Chinese goods, and in retaliation China's Finance Ministry said it would impose an additional 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of U.S. imports.
China's state media aired a 6-minute report of Xi's meeting with the multinational executives.
State footage showed Xi criticizing trade protectionism while praising China's One Belt, One Road initiative.
"The great door of China's opening will not close, it will only get bigger and more open," Xi said. "China will continue to greatly ease market access, create a more attractive investment environment, strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, voluntarily expand imports and create a more relaxed and orderly environment for domestic and foreign entrepreneurs to invest in and start businesses."
China's newspapers have denounced the Trump administration's plans to raise tariffs on Chinese goods.
China's Communist Party paper People's Daily condemned protectionism, along with "isolationism and populism" for posing serious challenges to world peace and development.
"The history of human societies show opening up brings progress, while closing off leads to a falling behind...China achieved rapid growth after 40 years of reform, and this is the result of opening up," the newspaper stated.
The impending trade war has taken a toll on China's currency.
The South China Morning Post reported the yuan has lost all its gains from 2018 this week, and extended losses for a seventh straight session on Friday.