Un­fair trade? Un­fair ac­cu­sa­tions re­vealed by China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo

Global Times US Edition - - ASIANREVIEW - The ar­ti­cle is a commentary of the Xin­hua News Agency. opin­ion@ glob­al­times.com.cn

Those who com­plain trade with China is done un­der un­fair rules may find it dif­fi­cult to jus­tify their ac­cu­sa­tions at the first China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo (CIIE).

Trade with China is fair and re­cip­ro­cal. Chi­nese com­pa­nies shop for bil­lions of dol­lars in for­eign goods at CIIE, the world’s first im­port-themed na­tional-level expo. It un­der­lines China’s as­pi­ra­tion of tran­si­tion­ing from sell­ing to the world to buy­ing from the world.

The expo also re­in­forces mes­sages to the world: China is se­ri­ous about open­ing up, the doors will open wider, as it is very clear about the type of changes that need to be made.

At the open­ing cer­e­mony, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping an­nounced that in the next 15 years, China’s im­ported goods and ser­vices are es­ti­mated to ex­ceed $30 tril­lion and $10 tril­lion, re­spec­tively. Piles of im­port or­ders at CIIE show China’s com­mit­ment is not lip ser­vice but real deals.

Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ant JD.Com is buy­ing 100 bil­lion yuan ( around $14.7 bil­lion) worth of for­eign goods from for­eign brands, such as Ital­ian cof­fee ma­chine maker De’Longhi, Ja­panese rice cooker firm Tiger, and US hard­ware be­he­moth Dell, dur­ing the CIIE to sat­isfy the de­mand of do­mes­tic con­sumers.

After Xi en­cour­aged cross­bor­der trade at the CIIE’s open­ing cer­e­mony, Alibaba Group Hold­ing an­nounced it would list $200 bil­lion worth of im­ported goods on its e-com­merce plat­forms from 2019 to 2023. China has al­ready taken con­crete mea­sures to fur­ther its open­ing. Start­ing Novem­ber 1, China re­duced tar­iffs on 1,585 im­ported com­modi­ties, and in do­ing so, cut the to­tal tar­iff level from 9.8 per­cent in 2017 to 7.5 per­cent. At the CIIE, China an­nounced plans to make cer­tain vol­umes of im­ported goods tar­iff ex­empt. At the expo site, sup­ply-de­mand match­mak­ing and one-stop ser­vices to as­sist busi­nesses with cus­toms dec­la­ra­tions, trans­porta­tion and ex­hi­bi­tions have been made avail­able.

One fact that should not be ne­glected is that while China holds sur­plus in goods trade, it runs a deficit in ser­vice trade.

The Min­istry of Com­merce re­leased a re­port on the side­lines of the expo show­ing that China’s cu­mu­la­tive ser­vice im­ports are ex­pected to ex­ceed $2.5 tril­lion in the next five years.

Dur­ing that pe­riod, China will see over $ 700 bil­lion of cu­mu­la­tive im­ports in emerg­ing ser­vices, in­clud­ing charges for the use of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, com­puter and in­for­ma­tion ser­vices, fi­nan­cial ser­vices, and per­sonal cul­tural and recre­ational ser­vices. This will pro­vide a broader mar­ket, more valu­able co­op­er­a­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties and greater ben­e­fits to the world.

When crit­ics say China’s pace to nar­row the trade gap with its trad­ing part­ners is too slow, these or­ders and huge po­ten­tials are res­onate ev­i­dence to an­swer the griev­ances of those crit­ics. “The Chi­nese econ­omy is a sea, not a pond,” Xi said, stress­ing that storms can over­turn a pond but never a sea.

What­ever crit­ics say about China’s trade prac­tice, China will not close its door to the world and will only be­come more and more open.

Lit­tle by lit­tle, China’s prac­tice will prove that a “win­ner takes all” ap­proach to trade is un­sus­tain­able, and an in­clu­sive and mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem will de­liver mu­tual ben­e­fits and greater pros­per­ity.

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