"We are all on board" -- Xi Jinping and the world's first import-themed national-level expo
SHANGHAI, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- "It is our sincere commitment to open the Chinese market to all countries," President Xi Jinping said in a keynote speech at the opening of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE).
"The CIIE, which will be held on an annual basis, will feature good performance, fruitful results and continued success in the years to come," he told over 1,500 participants including leaders of nations, regions and international organizations in Shanghai on Monday.
The CIIE, which China took the initiative to hold, is another international public good that China is offering to the world after the Belt and Road Initiative.
"This is no ordinary expo. It is the result of a major decision made by China to advance a new round of high-level opening-up and represents a major action taken by China to open its market to the world," Xi said at a welcoming banquet for foreign guests attending the CIIE on Sunday evening.
The expo was planned, proposed, designed and promoted by Xi.
The president's devotion to the event has shown China's sincerity to pro-actively open its market to the world and share opportunities with the world.
In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in May last year, Xi announced that China would host the CIIE starting from 2018.
From then on, Xi sent the international community welcoming messages to participate in the expo on various occasions: from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, to the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference; from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Qingdao Summit to the ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum; from the BRICS Business Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa, to the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Hosting the event is a major move to firmly support trade liberalization and open its market, as he said in the Johannesburg speech. "The expo will serve as a new platform for the world to access the Chinese market."
From chairing a meeting of the central leading group for deepening overall reform to deliberate on and pass a general plan for the CIIE, to approving the implementation plan for the expo, and to stressing on the event several times at meetings of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Xi has pushed for the careful preparation for the expo by related departments.
The event attracted 172 countries, regions and international organizations, as well as more than 3,600 companies, including over 200 companies that are in the Fortune Global 500 list or leading companies in their industry.
Nearly 180 companies from the U.S. participated, the third largest number of participants among all countries attending the event.
"The CIIE belongs not only to China but also to the world," Xi said several times, showing China's determination to make joint progress with the rest of the world.
Hearing Xi's keynote speech, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that China started to build a "bridge to the world" 40 years ago with the launch of its reform and opening up.
Meanwhile, China is building a "bridge to prosperity" and a "bridge to the future," Lagarde said.
In the Chinese booth, Xi invited Laotian and Vietnamese prime ministers to have a simulated ride on the Fuxing, China's latest generation of high-speed trains, which runs at 350 km per hour.
Both guests were impressed by the speed and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev exclaimed: "So fast!"
"We are all on board," Xi said.