US President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping leave a business leaders event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.
Nicolas Asfouri—AFP/Getty Images
By Alan Murray and David Meyer
April 10, 2018

Good morning.

While you were sleeping, President Xi Jinping gave a major speech promising to increase the access of foreign companies to China’s financial and manufacturing sectors, cut imported car tariffs, and reduce ownership restrictions for foreign car companies. Xi didn’t mention President Trump in his 40 minute speech, but it was clearly an effort to ease trade tensions.

Markets rallied on the speech. But analysts said most of the proposals have been promised before, and the president was short on specifics and timetables.

“Ultimately, U.S. industry will be looking for implementation of long-stalled economic reforms, but actions to date have greatly undermined the optimism of the U.S. business community,” said Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the U.S.-China Business Council.

Separately, Fortune editor Clifton Leaf and I travelled to New Brunswick, New Jersey, yesterday to visit with Johnson & Johnson’s Alex Gorsky, who is one of the leaders of a growing group of CEOs who recognize there is a trust crisis in business today that is putting new demands on them to prove their contributions to society. For J&J, that’s been hardwired in the company since its credo was crafted in 1943 by company chairman Robert Wood Johnson, stating that “our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services.” Employees and the communities in which they live and work get second and third billing in the credo, and only then does it cite “our final responsibility” which is “to our stockholders.”

Gorsky says the demands that approach puts on the company have intensified in recent years, due to the transparency brought about by social media as well as the rising expectations of employees and customers. Gorsky is one of the CEOs who has signed up for Fortune’s CEO Initiative, which is a community of corporate leaders committed to addressing major social problems as part of their core business strategies. You can read more about the initiative here.

More news below.

Alan Murray


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