CIIE: China’s Xi Jinping Promises Lower Tariffs, More Imports

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on November 5th, 2018

Shanghai, China : The world’s first import-themed national-level expo opened in Shanghai on Monday. China President Xi Jinping announced the opening of the China International Import Expo, which is scheduled for Nov 5-10.

A total of 172 countries, regions and international organizations from the five continents are expected to showcase their development achievements and international image at the expo.

More than 3,600 companies from different countries will hold discussions and seek common development with purchasers from China and overseas.

The inaugural China International Import Expo is hosted by China but belongs to the world, President Xi Jinping said.

The expo is not an ordinary event, but marks China’s new round of advancing high-level opening-up as well as the country’s taking significant steps to open its market to the rest of the world, Xi said when addressing a banquet that he and his wife, Peng Liyuan, hosted in Shanghai to welcome foreign guests attending the event.

Xi said the expo will help deepen international trade and economic cooperation, promote Belt and Road construction and advance economic globalization.

It will make positive contributions to enhancing the well-being of peoples from around the world as well as building a community with a shared future for mankind, he added.

Noting that Shanghai is the country’s economic center and has been at the forefront of China’s reform and opening-up over the past four decades, Xi said the city has witnessed the historic process of China’s opening-up and cooperation with other countries.

On Monday, Xi will deliver the keynote speech at the opening of the six-day event, which will see participation of more than 3,000 companies from over 130 countries and regions eager to take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

Leaders of 18 countries will attend the expo. Xi will join foreign leaders to visit pavilions of different countries at the expo.

The import-themed expo, the first one organized at the national level, is considered a new platform for other countries’ products to access the vast Chinese market.

Xi announced China’s hosting of the expo at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in April last year. Since then, Xi has on various occasions extended invitations to the rest of the world to attend the event.

When addressing the opening of the Boao Forum for Asia in April, Xi said the expo shows China’s concrete measures to open its market.

At the BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg in July, Xi told leaders at the summit that hosting the expo is a major action China takes to firmly uphold free trade and pursue opening-up.

In a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump on Thursday, Xi said the expo has shown China’s willingness to increase imports and further expand its opening-up, and he is glad to see many US companies enthusiastically participate in the event.

Compared to traditional expos which mainly showcase products for exports to attract foreign buyers, the CIIE focuses on imports by providing a platform for overseas manufacturers to display what they can offer to the huge Chinese market.

It is a very important initiative towards open and free trade, providing business opportunities to companies that are willing to join in. Besides featuring exhibitions, the expo will host forums on a variety of topics, country-themed promotional events and more importantly “matchmaking sessions” for Chinese purchasers and foreign companies.

The expo is a truly multilateral event, jointly sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government in partnership with the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

The CIIE is the first ever Chinese fair focusing exclusively on imported foreign goods and services. It shows that the Chinese government sincerely welcomes government officials, business communities, exhibitors and professional purchasers across the world to participate in CIIE and to explore the Chinese market.

China has entered a new development stage during which consumption keeps increasing, indicating an enormous potential for the growth of consumption and import. It’s estimated that China will import more than 10 trillion US dollars worth of products and services to meet the need of its 1.4 billion people in the next five years.

Needless to say that the Shanghai Expo offers overseas companies a good chance to bring in their best-selling brands, high-quality products and unique items of the localities to tap the vast Chinese market. This will prove to be a much better way to solve the trade surplus problems between China and other countries.

It is hoped that the CIIE will become a world-class Expo, bringing benefits to three parties. First, the expo offers Chinese consumers more and easier access to overseas products and services. Second, the expo provides overseas companies to make big money by selling their products and services on the Chinese market. Third, the expo has generated a huge interest not just in China, but also around the rest of the world. It’s more likely that a company’s display will attract other participating companies, which will result in a greater trade flow among the countries, thus promoting common prosperity of the world economy and trade.

The expo is also significant not only because the CIIE has the potential to boost trade between China and other countries around the world but also symbolizes the “China going global v2.0.”

Over the past four decades, China’s reform and opening-up policies have turned the country into a “world factory.” Goods made in China have been exported around the world on a large scale since it joined the WTO, which marks the “China going global v1.0” During the process, China’s economy has undergone tremendous changes. In addition to selling goods globally, Chinese enterprises began going overseas to further tap the local markets.

Although China-made products have greatly benefited consumers around the world and China’s contribution to the world’s economy has been on the rise, a few countries are eyeing China’s development through tinted glasses. A few short-sighted politicians even resort to unilateralism and protectionism for their own interests. They have started trade wars with other countries, including China, posing extra pressure to an already difficult global economic recovery.

Under such circumstances, China decides to work with other countries in an effort to safeguard free trade and economic globalization. As a responsible major player on the international arena, China is ready to upgrade from the one-way globalization to two-way traffic by opening its market to overseas goods and services, thus setting out for truly going global by upholding the principles of free trade, economic globalization, and win-win solution.

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