Xi opens ‘trail­blaz­ing’ CIIE, urges build­ing an open world econ­omy

Shanghai Daily - - TOP NEWS - (Xin­hua)

CHI­NESE Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping an­nounced the open­ing of the world’s first im­port-themed na­tion­al­level expo in Shanghai yes­ter­day, call­ing it a “trail­blaz­ing” move in the his­tory of in­ter­na­tional trade de­vel­op­ment.

A to­tal of 172 coun­tries, re­gions and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions from five con­ti­nents will show­case their de­vel­op­ment achieve­ments and in­ter­na­tional im­age at the first China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo.

More than 3,600 com­pa­nies from dif­fer­ent coun­tries will hold dis­cus­sions and seek com­mon de­vel­op­ment with over 400,000 pur­chasers from China and over­seas.

The CIIE is “a ma­jor pol­icy for China to push for a new round of high-level open­ing-up and a ma­jor mea­sure for China to take the ini­tia­tive to open its mar­ket to the world,” Xi said in his key­note speech at the open­ing cer­e­mony.

He again un­der­scored the role of eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion, say­ing it is “an ir­re­versible his­tor­i­cal trend” and pro­vides strong mo­men­tum for world eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

“All coun­tries should be com­mit­ted to open­ing-up and op­pose pro­tec­tion­ism and uni­lat­er­al­ism in a clear-cut stand,” Xi said, call­ing for joint ef­forts to build an open world econ­omy.

In a time when the waves of pro­tec­tion­ism and uni­lat­er­al­ism are threat­en­ing global growth, the expo is ex­pected to muster sup­port for free trade and in­ject cer­tainty to the world econ­omy.

The fair will be the epit­ome of the global econ­omy, with var­i­ous qual­ity ex­hibits rang­ing from Ger­man ma­chine tools, Ja­panese ro­bots and US med­i­cal equip­ment to Aus­tralian wine, Brazil­ian farm pro­duce and South Su­danese hand­i­crafts.

With the slo­gan “New Era, Shared Fu­ture,” the expo is the brain­child of Xi and is set to be­come a plat­form for win-win eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and a land­mark project in the coun­try’s higher-level open­ing-up.

China will stim­u­late the po­ten­tial for in­creased im­ports, con­tinue to broaden mar­ket ac­cess, fos­ter a world-class busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, ex­plore new hori­zons of open­ing-up, and pro­mote in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion at mul­ti­lat­eral and bi­lat­eral lev­els, Xi said.

Robert Aspell, pres­i­dent of Asia-Pa­cific for Cargill, said: “We are en­cour­aged to hear from Pres­i­dent Xi the reaf­fir­ma­tion of China’s sup­port of global trade, and China’s plan to fur­ther open it­self to the world.”

“This is a great start of the first CIIE,” Aspell said. The US agribusi­ness com­pany is an ex­hibitor at the CIIE and has al­ready de­cided to par­tic­i­pate in the sec­ond expo.

The in­au­gu­ral expo comes at an in­flec­tion point as China tran­si­tions to high-qual­ity de­vel­op­ment and shifts from the world’s work­shop to the world’s mar­ket, with the world’s big­gest mid­dle-in­come pop­u­la­tion de­mand­ing higher-qual­ity con­sumer prod­ucts.

Xi an­nounced yes­ter­day that China’s im­ported goods and ser­vices were es­ti­mated to ex­ceed US$30 tril­lion and US$10 tril­lion, re­spec­tively, in the next 15 years. China has been the world’s sec­ond-largest mer­chan­dise im­porter for nine con­sec­u­tive years.

This year marks the 40th an­niver­sary of China’s re­form and open­ing-up, and has seen a flurry of con­crete mea­sures taken by the coun­try to open its doors wider.

“China will not close its door to the world and will only be­come more and more open,” Xi said.

He also said there is ev­ery rea­son to be fully con­fi­dent in the fu­ture of the Chi­nese econ­omy.

At present, China’s econ­omy re­mains gen­er­ally sta­ble and is mak­ing good progress, Xi said, cit­ing data in­clud­ing the GDP growth of 6.7 per­cent in the first three quar­ters of 2018.

“China’s econ­omy is truly per­form­ing well within the rea­son­able range, giv­ing us a solid foun­da­tion for de­liv­er­ing the de­vel­op­ment goals for the whole year,” Xi said.

Com­pared with other ma­jor economies, China still ranks among the world’s top in terms of GDP growth, he said.

The fun­da­men­tals for sound and sta­ble eco­nomic growth re­main un­changed, the nec­es­sary pro­duc­tion fac­tors for high-qual­ity de­vel­op­ment re­main un­changed, and the over­all mo­men­tum of long-term eco­nomic sta­bil­ity and progress also re­mains un­changed, Xi said.

China’s ca­pac­ity of macro-eco­nomic reg­u­la­tion is grow­ing, and ef­forts to deepen re­form across the board have un­leashed new driv­ers of growth, he added.

With the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive be­ing fur­ther im­ple­mented, two-way in­vest­ment and trade be­tween China and coun­tries along the Belt and Road have con­tin­ued to gather pace, Xi said.

“All in all, the fa­vor­able con­di­tions are in place for the long-term, healthy and steady growth of the Chi­nese econ­omy,” he said.

“The Chi­nese econ­omy is a sea, not a pond,” Xi said.

“Storms can over­turn a pond, but never a sea.”

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping de­liv­ers a key­note speech at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the first China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo in Shanghai yes­ter­day. — Xin­hua

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