The world's second-largest economy has been promoting itself as a champion of free trade and globalization amid Washington's isolationist foreign policy but those claims are nothing but hot air, according to a former U.S. trade representative.
"You really can't be a leader of free trade if you have restrictions on your own system," said Michael Froman, one of President Obama's top negotiators during the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks. "To be a leader of the global trading system, it takes more than just declaring
Speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia on Friday, Froman, who is currently a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, acknowledged that Chinese President Xi Jinping's government did outline a number of sweeping changes to markets and financial systems during the 2013 Third Plenum.
But since then, the world hasn't seen much reform out of China, he said.
"There are specific actions you need to take internationally to help support the system and actions you need to take domestically to open up your economy and make sure there's a level playing field," Froman explained.