As the first prominent international exhibition following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) will once again help the world better understand China’s high-standard opening-up and win-win approach.
Echoing his report to the 20th CPC National Congress, Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday reiterated China’s commitments to promoting high-standard opening-up.
“Openness is a key driving force behind the progress of human civilizations and an intrinsic path toward global prosperity and development,” Xi said when addressing the opening ceremony of the 5th CIIE via video.
This year’s expo is slated for November 5-10 in China’s economic hub Shanghai and expects to welcome participants from 145 countries, regions and international organizations.
In his address, Xi said that China will work with all countries and all parties to share the opportunities from its institutional opening-up. The importance of expanding institutional opening-up is also highlighted at the report to the 20th CPC National Congress in terms of promoting China’s high-standard opening-up.
As the Chinese president vowed on Friday, China will steadily expand institutional opening-up with regard to rules, regulations, management and standards.
He further noted China will implement the strategy to upgrade pilot free trade areas, accelerate the Hainan Free Trade Port development, and tap into their role as pilot platforms for comprehensive reform and opening-up.
The pilot free trade zones (FTZ) in China enjoy greater autonomy in facilitating the country’s institutional innovation, which all implemented the foreign investment law to improve the foreign investment promotion system, the foreign investment information reporting system, and the system of regulation in process and afterwards, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors.
For instance, The Shanghai pilot FTZ took the lead in introducing a slew of financial innovation measures in institutional reform, including enlarging cross-border use of RMB and establishing a free trade account system. The system has been introduced to pilot FTZs in Tianjin Municipality, Guangdong Province and other regions in China.
In less than 10 years after China launched its first pilot FTZ in Shanghai in 2013, the number of such zones has surged to 21 with a total of 278 institutional innovations having been formulated and replicated nationwide, demonstrating China’s firm determination to open wider.
Opportunities for all
According to the expo’s organizer, enterprises from all the member states of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade deal to date, will be involved in the business fair.
Nicaragua, Djibouti, Mauritania, Comoros, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq and Iceland will for the first time be at the country exhibition of the six-day expo.
Thus, a total of 284 Fortune 500 companies will join the enterprise exhibition, with nearly nine out of 10 being repeat exhibitors.
The four previous editions of the CIIE launched more than 1,500 new products, technologies and services, with a total expected turnover exceeding $270 billion.
The CIIE’s development in the past five years has vividly shown that “the CIIE has become a showcase of China’s new development paradigm, a platform for high-standard opening-up, and a public good for the whole world,” as Xi put it at the address.
He also stressed China will work with all countries and all parties to share the opportunities in its vast market as well as share the opportunities from deepened international cooperation.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a bright spot showing how China’s opening-up endeavors are sharing China’s development opportunities for all.
Up to now, China has signed more than 200 cooperation documents with 149 countries and 32 international organizations under the BRI, and cumulative trade in goods between China and countries along the Belt and Road is about $12 trillion (as of June 2022).
Wrapping up his speech, Xi said “China is ready to work with all countries to practice true multilateralism, build more consensus for openness, jointly overcome the difficulties and challenges confronting global economic growth, and make sure that our commitment to openness will bring about broad prospects for global development.”