It’s About Us

Visitors experiencing Lego blocks at the second China International Import Expo. by Xu Xun

The second China International Import Expo (CIIE) was held in Shanghai as scheduled. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony and delivered an important speech, just as he did at the first expo last year.

Compared to the first CIIE, the scale and enthusiasm of this year’s event expanded dramatically. Many executives of multinational companies personally led delegations to the event. Transaction volumes significantly expanded over last year for many firms. Any companies waiting to see how the first CIIE developed saw concerns melt away after witnessing the Chinese government’s unswerving promotion of reform and opening up. Since the Chinese government arranged the world-class exhibition platform, countries around the world and multinational companies have become more confident in the Chinese market. They are investing more resources and participating more deeply in the second CIIE. As President Xi said, the Chinese market is such a big one that you should all come and see what it has to offer. In the wake of the second edition, the CIIE has emerged as far more than a simple platform for global business to enter and explore the Chinese market. It has far-reaching strategic significance.

The CIIE is not only about importing, but also opening up and cooperation. The event is the only world-class import fair on the planet. However, its significance now transcends organizers’ original intentions. The expo has become a platform for China to expand its imports through practical action and a tool for China to steadfastly promote opening up and win-win cooperation for all countries. At the second CIIE, President Xi first reviewed the implementation of measures for China’s expanded opening up announced at the first expo and detailed the launch of new opening-up initiatives. The event showed the world China’s determination and confidence to expand its openness and strengthen win-win cooperation with all countries. China will contribute to the establishment of an open, cooperative, innovative and shared global economy. It will also expand opening up to a higher level through the annual CIIE.

The CIIE is about transactions, but also dialogue and consensus. As a national-level exhibition platform, the expo regards transactions as an important function as well as an important indicator measuring effectiveness and vitality. From the perspective of the exhibitors and scale of transactions at the second CIIE, the expo has played an outstanding role in promoting trade. In fact, many multinational companies were so enthusiastic to participate that securing an exhibition space became difficult. The Hongqiao International Economic Forum, which was held in tandem with the expo, is a stage for dialogue on international economics and global governance that seeks consensus and joint promotion of open development around the world. The second Hongqiao International Economic Forum continued the first edition’s “1+4” mode with one main forum and four sub-forums. At the opening of the main forum this year, President Xi proposed open cooperation, open innovation and open sharing, which won recognition from heads of state and business leaders from around the world. The four sub-forums focused on topics including the business environment, artificial intelligence, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and e-commerce. Representatives reached consensus on strengthening the multilateral trading system, promoting open cooperation and building an open world economy.

The CIIE is as much for countries around the world as it is for China. The event is sponsored by China, but it belongs to the world. It is for China, but more for other countries. China’s current development stage demands promotion of domestic consumption upgrade and industrial upgrade through expanding imports. Expanding imports will not only provide quality goods and services for the domestic market, better meet the demand of middle- and high-end domestic consumers, and help build a strong domestic market and a more prosperous domestic consumer market, but also promote healthy market competition. Competition creates pressure, and pressure promotes innovation and industrial upgrading. Part of the goal is to create a more open market environment that fosters high-quality economic development. Through expanding its imports and further opening its market, China has created opportunities for the rest of the world. China’s rapidly growing and large-scale domestic consumer market creates space for other countries to expand exports to drive their economic growth and employment. China is firmly committed to opening its market, expanding imports through practical action and making important contributions to safeguarding the world’s multilateral trading system and building a more open world economy. 

The author is director of the International Service and Trade Institute of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

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