The third China International Import Expo (CIIE) convened Wednesday in Shanghai as scheduled. This not only demonstrates China’s economic resilience following its successful containment of COVID-19, but also shows the country’s commitment to further opening-up.
China is the first major economy to return to growth, registering a 0.7-percent year-on-year expansion for the first nine months.
With a total population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group that exceeds 400 million, China also boasts a huge market that is the most promising in the world. The country's total imports are estimated to top $22 trillion in the coming decade.
As the world's first import-themed national-level expo, the CIIE is a public good created by China to promote free trade and develop an open world economy. It offers a great platform for the world's businesses to tap into the lucrative Chinese market as China commits to further opening-up.
"Our aim is to turn the China market into a market for the world, a market shared by all, and a market accessible to all. This way, we will be able to bring more positive energy to the global community," Chinese President Xi Jinping said via video link at the opening ceremony of the third CIIE.
The active participation in the expo from leading companies echoed Xi’s message.
Dozens of companies have signed up for the expo in the next three years. Up to 70 percent of the world's Fortune 500 companies are repeat exhibitors, and the average exhibition area for the world's top 500 companies and industry leaders has increased by 14 percent year-on-year.
As a result, the expo's total exhibition area has been expanded by 30,000 square meters, and total registered professional buyers reached 400,000.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising de-globalization and unilateralism, the CIIE also symbolizes China's promise to further opening-up and its firm support to trade liberalization and economic globalization.
Despite the COVID-19, China's pace of opening-up has not been hindered but quickened. Measures President Xi announced at last year’s CIIE have been implemented. The items on the national negative list for foreign investment have been cut from 40 to 33, and the number of pilot free trade zones (FTZs) has increased from 18 to 21.
This year, President Xi announced an array of new measures to expand the all-around opening-up of the country.
He said the country will continue to leverage the pioneering role of pilot FTZs and free trade ports in steering opening-up, introduce a negative list for cross-border services trade, and further widen areas like the digital economy and the internet.
The catalog of technologies prohibited or restricted from imports will be shortened, the foreign-related legal framework will be more open and transparent, and intellectual property protection will be strengthened.
Regarding China's new development pattern with the domestic economy as the mainstay and domestic and international commerce reinforcing each other, Xi said, "What we envision is not a development loop behind closed doors, but more open domestic and international circulation."
Since its birth, the CIIE has demonstrated China's unfaltering determination to open wider to the world no matter how the external situation changes.