By Global Times
The opening ceremony of the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum will be held in Shanghai on Friday. Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech via video. The import-themed national-level expo is initiated by China. It has been unique in the international market over the past five years, achieving fruitful results far exceeding world expectations. It has become an important part of China’s high-level opening-up to the outside world.
The overall international trade environment this year is facing severe challenges. The CIIE, like a flag of free trade waving in the breeze, will boost the determination and confidence of the international community to overcome difficulties together. For exhibitors from various countries, they can concentrate on business and look for more cooperation opportunities in the vast Chinese market through the platform of the CIIE. In all respects, this is a major benefit that China’s development and opening-up have created for the world.
Compared with previous years, the biggest special feature of this year’s CIIE is that it is held shortly after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The high attention that the outside world paid to and the rich interpretations of the 20th CPC National Congress will naturally extend to the CIIE. For some time now, US and Western public opinion has tried to label China as “closed” and “decoupled from the world,” attempting to find some clues to create an atmosphere of “foreign companies fleeing China” from time to time. The CIIE will loudly tell the world that such misleading narrative is futile and their concern is unnecessary. China’s door will not be closed, but instead will open wider.
According to statistics, a total of 145 countries, regions and international organizations will participate in the CIIE this year. The number has exceeded the previous one with a more optimized structure and stronger representation. It is worth mentioning that more than 280 Fortune 500 companies and industry-leading enterprises are participating in the exhibition, with a “return rate” of nearly 90 percent, and many companies have signed contracts for the sixth CIIE. The facts speak for themselves. These figures are enough to overwhelm all suspicions. If they didn’t benefit, if they didn’t have the confidence in and expectation for the Chinese market, could these multinational companies have repeatedly attended the CIIE? The cumulative amount of intended transaction of the previous four CIIEs exceeded $270 billion, and it will continue growing this year and in future.
In particular, Washington has been complaining about trade deficit with China, but it has obstructed American companies from expanding their markets in China and even threatened them. This is inappropriate. In recent years, the US authorities themselves have adopted a narrow mind. Meanwhile, some anti-China politicians have often, in a high-profile manner, maliciously harassed foreign companies that have close ties with the Chinese market, trying to drive them away from China. Most of the pressures that multinational companies are currently feeling come from geopolitical uncertainty, and Washington’s almost frenzied “fault finding” is the No.1 destabilizing factor.
This year is already the fifth of the CIIE. The first CIIE was held in 2018 and the timing is actually worth remembering. At that time, the Trump administration was mobilizing a trade war with China, which made many people feel extremely pessimistic about China’s prospects and believe that China would definitely be brought down. The result, however, is that even the Americans admit that the trade war “did nothing” but instead “succeeded in draining America again.” However, the CIIE has taken root and borne fruitful results, and even the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t shaken it. It turns out that the market is ultimately stronger than Washington’s political manipulation.
Today’s world is facing more difficulties than in 2018, with divisions and confrontations developing from “crazy ideas” into real risks. This is something that most people did not expect. However, the more complex and difficult the situation is, the more countries need to connect and cooperate. The unique charm of the CIIE is precisely that it has become not only a mere exhibition of imported commodities, but also a “window” that promotes global openness and cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win results. It has injected “running water” into companies suffering from geopolitical confrontation, and brought “clear spring” to the recovery and development of the global economy. At the same time, the CIIE provides free exhibition booths to SMEs from the least developed countries every year. This is a vivid manifestation of China’s development benefiting the world, and it is also the essence of building a human community with a shared future. As long as China’s economy remains prosperous, more people in the world will share the dividends, which will continue to inject strong momentum into promoting inclusive and sustainable global development. When the development of human society faces the risk of division and confrontation, the lively scene of visitors from all over the world gathering at the CIIE is of extraordinary significance. This is not only an important source of confidence in China’s opening-up, but also carries the hope of a righteous path in the world. We will hold the CIIE one after another, and the positive energy accumulated will bring greater surprises to the world.