Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Tian Qi | China Int’l Import Expo a step towards global economic recovery

Published:Sunday | November 8, 2020 | 12:11 AM
 
Visitors wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus look at a display from toymaker Lego at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Thursday, November 5. The expo, one of China’s largest annual trade fairs, kicked off on Thursday
Visitors wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus look at a display from toymaker Lego at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Thursday, November 5. The expo, one of China’s largest annual trade fairs, kicked off on Thursday as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has largely been controlled within China.
Tian Qi, ambassador of China to Jamaica.
Tian Qi, ambassador of China to Jamaica.
A visitor wearing a face mask uses augmented reality eyewear at a display from Microsoft at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
A visitor wearing a face mask uses augmented reality eyewear at a display from Microsoft at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
Volunteers watch video screens showing Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering an address to the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
Volunteers watch video screens showing Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering an address to the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
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As the world’s first national-level exhibition with import being its theme, the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at its third session, is being held both online and offline in Shanghai as scheduled for November 5 to 10, 2020. By holding the major international economic and trade event, China is sending a positive signal to the international community that we should work together to overcome difficulties we face, strengthen openness and cooperation, and share development opportunities, thus injecting strong impetus and positive energy into the global economic recovery and growth.

ACHIEVEMENTS IN ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND GROWTH

With major strategic gains in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese economy is steadily picking up, as evidenced by the positive overall growth in the first three quarters. The total import and export value of trade in goods reached CNY23.12 trillion, the equivalent of J$462.40 trillion, a 0.7 per cent increase year on year. It is worth mentioning that China’s total trade value and import and export values all reached a record high in the third quarter, respectively. In the first three quarters, China’s outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) remained stable on the whole. Total investment by the Chinese enterprises to the countries on the Belt & Road initiative grew sharply, with more than US$13 billion of non-financial FDI, an increase of 29.7 per cent year on year. China’s paid-in FDI increased by 5.2 per cent compared with the similar quarter last year. Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, Chinese enterprises and enterprises from other countries promoted the Belt & Road initiative in making in-depth progress and delivering benefits to their peoples. As the only major economy in the world that has achieved positive growth, China is injecting confidence and impetus into global economic recovery. What’s more, out of solidarity with other countries in fighting COVID-19, Chinese people have shared full experience and have done our best to assist the international community. As at October 20, China had provided assistance to 150 countries and seven international organisations and exported over 179 billion masks, 1.73 billion protective suits, and 543 million testing kits.

EXPO OF BETTER QUALITY AND HIGHER LEVEL

This year, the CIIE has drawn a large number of businesses around the globe. The exhibition area has expanded by nearly 30,000 square metres. The average exhibition area of the world’s top 500 enterprises and leading firms increased by 14 per cent compared with last year. Special zones on public health and epidemic prevention, energy conservation and environmental protection, and wisdom travel have been added. For the first time, cross-border e-commerce is conducted after the exhibits enter the bonded zone, intellectual property rights (IPRs) departments have been stationed in the expo to provide on-site services, and intelligent epidemic-prevention measures and emergency plans are in place. One of the highlights of the expo is the formation of an ecosystem of “exhibits becoming traded goods, exhibitors becoming investors, purchasers becoming traders, policies turning into systems”.

With a population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group that exceeds 400 million, the China market is huge and promising. Total import into China is estimated to top US$22 trillion in the coming decade. Chinese manufacturing now makes an important and positive part of the global industrial and supply chains. Demand on the massive domestic market in China will continue to unleash endless potential for innovation. The just-concluded Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee adopted an overall plan for China’s development in the coming 14th five-year plan period. Answering to the changing circumstances and new requirements, China has set out to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. It is not a development loop behind closed doors but more open domestic and international circulations. China will do so not only to meet its own development needs but also for the greater benefit of people in all countries. No matter how the external environment changes, China will only open its door wider and wider.

Not long ago, China released the 2020 edition of the national negative list for foreign investment, significantly easing restrictions on foreign investment in the fields of finance, infrastructure, and transportation. The negative list of China’s cross-border trade in service is also in the process of being formulated and will become effective within the year. In the future, China’s super large-scale market advantages and domestic demand potential will be further released. As the world’s second-largest economy, the biggest country of trade in goods, and an important hub of global value chain, China will deepen reforms with the courage, expand high-level opening-up with greater strength, and share China’s big market with the world, all of which will certainly mean greater opportunities for businesses of all countries.

SAFEGUARD MULTILATERAL TRADING SYSTEM

Today’s world is experiencing a great change that has not happened in a hundred years. The pandemic has accelerated the change of this exceptional situation. The economic globalisation is facing the counter, protectionism and unilateralism are rising, the world economy is in a downturn, and international trade and investment are shrinking sharply, which brings unprecedented challenges and tests to human production and life. However, what the history of the development of human society has told us is that the world economy will prosper when it is open and decline when it is closed.

The Chinese government will further expand the opening up, stabilise the industrial chain supply chain, and promote reform and development through opening up to show the international community China’s firm determination to safeguard free trade and the multilateral trading system. In terms of stabilising foreign trade, China will speed up the development of new formats such as cross-border e-commerce, enhance the international freight transport capacity, make good use of the expo platform to expand imports actively, and develop a large market facing the world at a higher level. In terms of foreign investment utilisation, China will further relax market access; continue to reduce negative lists substantially; improve the opening level of the service, manufacturing, and agriculture industries; and expand the opening up of financial industry in an orderly manner. China will grant greater autonomy in reform and opening up to 18 pilot free trade zones, accelerate the construction of Hainan free trade port, and build a higher level of opening-up platform. China will also trying its best to create a fair, just, open, and transparent business environment in accordance with the Foreign Investment Law. In terms of promoting high-quality Belt & Road cooperation, China will adhere to the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits; follow the market principles and international common rules; and give full play to the role of enterprises to carry out mutually beneficial cooperation. In terms of promoting trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, China will firmly safeguard the multilateral trading system, actively participate in WTO reform, and strengthen economic and trade cooperation with other countries to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results.

EXPLORE COLLABORATION IN BILATERAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT

China and Jamaica enjoy long-standing trade relations with China being Jamaica’s fourth-largest trading partner. According to China customs statistics, the value of bilateral trade in goods in the first three quarters of this year reached US$470 million. Jamaica’s lobster, rum, and Blue Mountain coffee have attracted a lot of attention on CIIE for three consecutive years. We encourage our Jamaican friends to export more to China and share the benefits of China’s vast market.

Late last year, Jamaica signed with China the cooperation plan on Belt & Road, which represents a further strengthened relationship between both countries. With Jamaica playing a leading role in the Caribbean and China being Jamaica’s biggest source of FDI and a major international development partner, China looks forward to joining hands in promoting high-quality Belt & Road cooperation with Jamaica, further exploring collaboration in such key areas as agriculture, sustainable fisheries, manufacturing, logistics services to realise diversified, independent, balanced, and sustainable development.

Going forward, China will stay committed to openness, cooperation, and unity for win-win results. We will steadfastly expand all-round opening up and explore more efficient ways to connect domestic and foreign markets and share factors of production and resources. Our aim is to turn the China market into a market for Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the world, a market shared by all and a market accessible to all.

- Tian Qi is the ambassador of China to Jamaica. Send feedback to xiajamaica@gmail.com.