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