CIIE goes far beyond international trade
Published: Nov 11, 2019 09:53 PM

Photo: IC

President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai expounded on the implementation of the opening-up measures proposed by China at the first CIIE. Xi put forward three proposals to promote world economic development, laying out China's five measures to promote higher-level opening-up. 

The CIIE is not only an exhibition and sales platform for foreign commodities, but also important for home diplomacy. CIIE sends strong signals about the world economy, free trade and China's economy, putting forward the world's second-largest economy's proposition on international politics and economy, and enhancing the international support for multilateralism, free trade and an open world economic order.

First, the CIIE is an important signal of China's widening openness. In the earlier part of his speech, Xi said, "One year on, these initiatives and steps have been by and large put in place." The Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone now has a Lingang area. The Shanghai Stock Exchange launched a sci-tech innovation board. In the Yangtze River Delta area, a plan for integrated development of the region has been introduced. A Foreign Investment Law will soon enter into force. A management system combining pre-establishment national treatment and the negative list has been implemented nationwide.

 International trade protectionism and beggar-thy-neighbor policy is prevailing in the world, but China still insists on wider opening-up which not only conveys to the world Beijing's confidence in maintaining an open and stable world economy, but also shows that as an important country in the world, China can solve the problems emerged in globalization through sustained openness and inclusive policies.

 Second, the CIIE organized by China is an important gesture that points to maintaining a stable and open world economy. The event also saw a series of bilateral meetings among state leaders held at the same time to promote the formation of consensus on international cooperation and free trade. 

For example, President Emmanuel Macron of France attended the opening ceremony of the CIIE. In talks with the French leader later, Xi said China is ready to work with France and Europe to resolutely uphold the multilateral trading system and oppose protectionism and unilateralism, build a free and open trade and investment policy environment and inject impetus to facilitate world economic growth.

Third, the CIIE signals China's responsibility as a major country. China is not only willing to work with other countries to maintain a stable and open world economy, but also seeks to further expand the openness of the market so that the world can get on board the fast train of China's development. 

China has the largest middle-income class in the world and is a huge market. In the report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, it was mentioned that the main contradiction in Chinese society has been transformed into the contradiction between the people's growing needs for a better life and unbalanced and inadequate development. Manufacturing and services can meet the needs of the Chinese for a better life. Meanwhile, the Chinese government and people welcome more foreign products and services.

Fourth, the expo is an important signal of China's sustained economic growth. At the first CIIE, Xi stressed China's development potential and space with the metaphor of the sea, while at the just-concluded expo, Xi pledged that "China's development, viewed through the lens of history, is an integral part of the lofty cause of human progress." 

Based on this confidence, Xi also proposed five new measures for China to continue to open up, and vowed that the country, which adheres to the new development concept and turns to the strategy of innovation-driven development, will inevitably achieve quality economic growth and create more opportunities for the world economy.

The author is professor at the Institute of International Relations, China Foreign Affairs University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn
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