CIIE: Safe­guard­ing Eco­nomic Glob­al­iza­tion

Beijing Review - - ESSAY - By Lan Xinzhen Copy­edited by Re­beca Toledo Com­ments to lanx­inzhen@bjre­view.com

The world’s first na­tional expo on im­ports, the China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo (CIIE), will be held on Novem­ber 5-10 in Shang­hai and is ex­pected to draw more than 150,000 pur­chasers from home and abroad. China is the world’s big­gest ex­porter in terms of tan­gi­ble goods trade, and the CIIE has at­tracted at­ten­tion from around the world. To share ex­pe­ri­ences of mar­ket and eco­nomic progress with the world’s most pop­u­lous coun­try, which is also the sec­ond largest econ­omy in the world, is very ap­peal­ing to busi­nesses around the globe.

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has a ques­tion: Is China’s ex­pan­sion of im­ports sus­tain­able or is it a forced choice un­der the pres­sure of the China-u.s. trade war?

For those who are fa­mil­iar with China, the ques­tion is su­per­flu­ous, since China’s poli­cies and ac­tions al­ready tell the whole story.

While pro­mot­ing the CIIE, the Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment has called it the “first” one, which im­plies that this is not a one-time event. The expo show­cases the Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment’s sin­cer­ity and willing­ness to vol­un­tar­ily open China wider to the out­side world and also to as­sume its re­spon­si­bil­ity as a ma­jor power to push for­ward with eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion.

Since the 18th Na­tional Con­gress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China in Novem­ber 2012, the strate­gic pol­icy of deep­en­ing re­form and open­ing up in an all-round way has been widely pur­sued. Against the back­drop of antiglob­al­iza­tion mea­sures by some de­vel­oped economies, China’s strat­egy of fur­ther­ing re­form and open­ing up at­tests to its de­ter­mi­na­tion to safe­guard eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion. In May 2017, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping an­nounced at the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion that China would hold the CIIE start­ing in 2018, and it was hailed as an im­por­tant de­ci­sion for a new round of higher-level re­form and open­ing up. China’s vol­un­tary in­crease of im­ports will cre­ate a new driv­ing force for global eco­nomic growth and in­ject new vi­tal­ity into the world econ­omy. It re­it­er­ates China’s per­sis­tent pol­icy of up­hold­ing a mul­ti­lat­eral trade sys­tem, push­ing for­ward free trade, as well as build­ing and safe­guard­ing an open world econ­omy.

The CIIE shows China’s in­clu­sive and co­op­er­a­tive con­cept of de­vel­op­ment in build­ing a com­mu­nity with a shared fu­ture for mankind, the ide­o­log­i­cal con­cept pro­posed by Xi and ex­plained to the world on Jan­uary 18, 2017, at the United Na­tions Of­fice at Geneva. The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is re­garded by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity as one of the prac­tices in the process of build­ing such a com­mu­nity, and the CIIE is one more tan­gi­ble ap­pli­ca­tion.

This can be achieved only on a win-win ba­sis of mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion and ben­e­fit, un­der­stand­ing and tol­er­ance, as well as com­mon de­vel­op­ment. The CIIE is ex­actly such a plat­form for the world. On the one hand, by ex­pand­ing its im­por­ta­tion, China is open­ing its mar­ket to com­modi­ties from other coun­tries and of­fer­ing them a free ride on the Chi­nese train of de­vel­op­ment and a chance to share China’s fruits of de­vel­op­ment. On the other hand, the CIIE of­fers as­sis­tance to the least de­vel­oped coun­tries, bring­ing them into the global value chain and glob­al­iza­tion.

The CIIE is not only a place for goods and ser­vice trade, but also a com­pre­hen­sive in­ter­na­tional plat­form for coun­tries to present them­selves and for global is­sues to be dis­cussed. A string of sup­port­ive pro­fes­sional ac­tiv­i­ties will be held dur­ing the CIIE, in­clud­ing sup­ply and de­mand match­mak­ing meet­ings, in­dus­trial sym­po­siums and prod­uct launches to help ex­hibitors and pur­chasers find their part­ners. At the same time, there will be in­ter­na­tional trade fo­rums, joined by in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions like the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the UN In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tion. The CIIE is thus a plat­form to gather economies that ad­vo­cate eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion for the pur­pose of com­mu­ni­cat­ing, ex­hibit­ing and reach­ing co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments.

The CIIE is also be­ing held to meet the Chi­nese peo­ple’s de­mand for a bet­ter life. China has al­ready se­cured enough food and cloth­ing for its vast pop­u­la­tion, with the peo­ple gen­er­ally liv­ing a moder­ately well-off life. The pub­lic’s long­ing for a bet­ter life is re­flected in their higher re­quire­ment for ma­te­rial and cul­tural goods, an up­grad­ing of the con­sump­tion struc­ture and more di­ver­sity. The expo will help to sat­isfy the pub­lic’s in­di­vid­u­al­ized, diver­si­fied and dif­fer­en­ti­ated con­sump­tion de­mands, which is also a pri­mary goal of the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment.

China boasts a vast mar­ket, with the ex­tent of its open­ing up un­prece­dented. How­ever, mar­ket be­hav­iors are based on an equal foot­ing. The fi­nal im­ports and which economies will achieve a break­through in the Chi­nese mar­ket dur­ing the expo will de­pend on China’s bi­lat­eral trade re­la­tions with these coun­tries. For ex­am­ple, the world’s eyes are on whether U.S. bean dis­trib­u­tors will be able to dom­i­nate the Chi­nese mar­ket as be­fore and whether U.S. hi-tech com­pa­nies will be able to ex­pand their shares in the Chi­nese mar­ket by shak­ing off the U.S. Gov­ern­ment’s reins.

The expo show­cases the Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment’s sin­cer­ity and willing­ness to vol­un­tar­ily open China wider to the out­side world and also to as­sume its re­spon­si­bil­ity as a ma­jor power to push for­ward with eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion

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