Free Trade Zones

China accelerates its opening up to the top level


SHANGHAI (Xinhua): Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of global exhibitors at the current China International Import Expo (CIIE) surpassed previous edition – a vote of confidence for the market Chinese and a message of business opportunities from him.

The annual world import-themed trade fair, the first of its kind in the world, is an emblem of China’s high-level openness and its concrete practice of upholding true multilateralism. It has become a major platform for companies in developed, developing or underdeveloped countries to boost exports to the market with a population of over 1.4 billion people.

The fair this year attracted nearly 3,000 companies from 127 countries and regions, including 33 least developed countries. The number of American companies attending this year’s CIIE has reached an all-time high compared to their presence in the previous three editions.

In his opening speech at the opening ceremony of the Fourth CIIE on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that China will firmly uphold true multilateralism. It will also firmly share market opportunities with the rest of the world, promote high-level openness and defend the common interests of the world.

The Chinese have traditionally valued the quality of honesty and integrity in interpersonal relationships and in business. China is also honoring its words with deeds, honoring its commitments to expand global openness through legislation, policies and measures.

In the past decade, through the establishment of free zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port, the easing of restrictions on foreign investment, the hosting of the CIIE since 2018 and the first China International Consumer Products Expo in May, along with the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, China accelerated its global opening up, bringing real and remarkable benefits to people and businesses both at home and abroad.

In the first three quarters of 2021, Chinese imports totaled nearly two trillion US dollars, up 32.6% year on year and a record high. According to the latest data from the World Trade Organization (WTO), in the first half of the year, China’s international import market share increased 0.7 percentage points year-on-year to 12%, contributing to 15% of the increase in world imports.

The Belt and Road Initiative, for win-win results in the context of economic globalization, has also become a popular international public good that improves connectivity, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs in participating countries and promotes common development.

Since joining the WTO 20 years ago, China has been promoting, defending and leading international cooperation. The country itself is a beneficiary of economic globalization, achieving historic advances such as the eradication of absolute poverty.

Yet the downward trend in global openness deserves special attention. The World Openness Report published at the CIIE showed an overall decline in the global openness index over the past decade, in particular the opening of some developed countries.

The global consensus on openness must be strengthened and broadened to pull the world economy out of a sluggish recovery as soon as possible. Wisdom and collective action are urgently needed to steer economic globalization in a more open, inclusive, balanced and mutually beneficial direction to tackle the global development deficit. And the “counter-currents” of protectionism, unilateralism, economic hegemony and harassment must be firmly rejected.

The global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic has increasingly recognized the concept of a shared destiny for humanity. China will continue to firmly advance its openness and strive for the common prosperity of mankind. And all nations should stand on the right path of history and together build an open world economy for a better future.