Im­port expo a mile­stone for China’s open­ing-up

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 11 Comment Editorial • Opinion -

The ex­pos and fairs China has held at dif­fer­ent times in his­tory serve as mile­stones in its de­vel­op­ment jour­ney. The first ex­port fair held in Guangzhou, Guang­dong prov­ince, in 1957, for in­stance, re­flected China’s press­ing de­mand for for­eign trade. Now known as the China Im­port and Ex­port Fair, or Can­ton Fair, it is held ev­ery year in spring and au­tumn as a chan­nel for the go­ing out of made-in-China. Now Shang­hai is the venue for the first China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo, which opened on Mon­day. Re­flect­ing that con­sump­tion has over­taken ex­ports and in­vest­ment as a growth driver — con­tribut­ing over 60 per­cent of the eco­nomic growth in China — it is a chan­nel for the world to come into China.

The event, which runs to Satur­day, is be­ing held when the coun­try cel­e­brates the 40th an­niver­sary of its re­form and open­ing-up, and re­flects China’s trans­for­ma­tion from be­ing the world’s fac­tory to be­ing a mar­ket for the world.

China now has more than 300 mil­lion mid­dle class con­sumers, and the num­ber will dou­ble in a decade or two, which will be twice that of the United States, and three­fold that of the Euro­pean Union. Last year, China con­trib­uted 30 per­cent of the world’s eco­nomic growth. That China in­creases im­ports to meet peo­ple’s de­mands and pro­pel its con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment — it ex­pects to im­port more than $10 tril­lion worth of goods and ser­vices in five years — will ben­e­fit com­pa­nies from around the world and help stoke the global econ­omy.

More than 3,000 en­ter­prises from more than 130 coun­tries and re­gions are at­tend­ing the expo, and more than 5,000 kinds of com­modi­ties will be ex­hib­ited for the first time in China, high­light­ing the ben­e­fits of eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion.

That many en­ter­prises from coun­tries along the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road are tak­ing part in the expo, with some from the least de­vel­oped African coun­tries show­ing their ex­ports for free, also makes the event a win­dow by which the world can see the world.

And by deep­en­ing China’s in­ter­ac­tion with the world, the expo will ac­cel­er­ate fur­ther re­forms, most im­me­di­ately in its in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights pro­tec­tion and fi­nan­cial sec­tor.

His­tory will tell that this expo was a mile­stone sig­nal­ing that China was on the way to be­com­ing the world’s largest im­port and con­sumer mar­ket, and that coun­tries around the world would share the div­i­dends of China’s con­tin­ued re­form and open­ing-up.

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