This photo taken on Nov. 3, 2023 shows the south square of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue for the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE), in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua/Liu Ying)
by Lyu Hui
BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- The sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) concluded Friday with a new record -- 78.41 billion U.S. dollars worth of tentative deals reached for one-year purchases of goods and services, highest since its debut in 2018 and up 6.7 percent from last year.
This new record was achieved in a time when uncertainties abound in the world. Braving headwinds, China has hosted the CIIE for six consecutive years, demonstrating unswerving commitment to high-standard opening up and determination in sharing development opportunities with the world.
In his letter to congratulate the opening of this year’s expo, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China will always be an important opportunity for global development, pledging that China will firmly advance high-standard opening up and continue to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.
Entering its sixth edition this year, the CIIE, the world’s first import-themed national-level expo, has become a vital platform for international procurement, investment promotion, people-to-people exchanges and open cooperation.
GATE TO MARKET
The CIIE has become a "golden gate" to the vast Chinese market of 1.4 billion people, including a middle-income group of more than 400 million people.
Through the platform of CIIE, more and more advanced products, technologies and services enter the Chinese market, driving China's industrial and consumption upgrading, fueling high-quality development and providing more new opportunities for international trade cooperation.
The world today is confronted with accelerated changes unseen in a century as well as a sluggish economic recovery. As a public good for the whole world, the CIIE endeavors to make the pie of the global market even bigger, explore new ways of international cooperation and deliver the benefits for all.
The expo also offers domestic companies extensive opportunities to establish connections with potential business partners, forge complementary advantages with market players, thereby enhancing their overall competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang said at the expo’s opening ceremony that China will actively expand imports, implement negative lists for cross-border service trade, and continue to ease market access.
China's imports of goods and services are expected to reach 17 trillion U.S. dollars in cumulative terms in the next five years, Li said.
Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.2 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters this year.
The resilience of Chinese economy and openness of the Chinese market has drawn businessmen from around the world. This year's CIIE, the first complete return to in-person exhibitions since the onset of COVID-19, has attracted participants and guests from 154 countries, regions, and international organizations.
Over 3,400 exhibitors and nearly 410,000 professional visitors registered for the event, including 289 of Global Fortune 500 companies and many leading industry leaders.
GATE TO COOPERATION
While some Western politicians seek to build "small yards and high fences", the CIIE stands for true multilateralism, mutual understanding and win-win cooperation, which is what the world needs today.
American companies’ enthusiasm about the CIIE speaks volumes. They have ranked first in terms of exhibition area at the CIIE for several years in a row.
This year, more than 200 U.S. exhibitors in agricultural, semiconductors, medical devices, new energy vehicles, cosmetics, and other sectors have attended the annual expo, marking the largest U.S. presence in the history of the CIIE.
The American Food and Agriculture Pavilion at the CIIE 2023 is the first time the U.S. government has participated in the grand event.
A total of 17 exhibitors from the U.S. state governments, agricultural product associations, agricultural exporters, food manufacturers and packaging companies showcased their products such as meat, nuts, cheese and wine at the pavilion, covering an area of more than 400 square meters.
To businessmen from developing countries and the Global South, the CIIE serves as a bridge to not just the Chinese market but also the global trading system, as they meet and seek cooperation with companies from all around the world.
This year’s expo provided free booths and other supportive policies to about 100 companies from 30 least developed countries.
Ali Faiz from Afghanistan’s Biraro Trading Company, who has attended the expo for the fourth time, said that in the past it was extremely difficult for small businesses in his country to find overseas markets for their products.
He recalled his first attendance in 2020 when he brought the handmade wool carpet, a specialty product of Afghanistan. The expo helped him receive more than 2,000 orders for the wool carpets, which meant incomes for over 2,000 local families for an entire year.
Now, the demand for Afghan handmade carpets in China has kept increasing. Faiz needs to replenish his stock twice a month, compared with only once every six months in the past.
"The CIIE provides us with a valuable window of opportunity so we can integrate into economic globalization and enjoy its benefits like those in more developed regions," he said.
GATE TO FUTURE
Over 400 new items -- products, technologies and services -- took center stage at this year's CIIE, some of them making their global debuts.
These avant-garde technologies and products feed into the trend of China’s further development and contribute to enriching Chinese people’s lives.
The future has come. The Chinese people are now enjoying the convenience and pleasure brought by latest technologies, quality and trendiest goods and services from around the whole world. China’s endeavor for high-quality development will foster new growth engines and new momentum, bringing opportunities to businesses home and abroad.
"The latest announcement on China's expected import volume for the next five years is extremely encouraging, for both foreign companies doing business with China and the world economy as a whole," said Julian Blissett, General Motors (GM) executive vice president and president of GM China.
Openness and cooperation remain the trend of times. As China opens its door wider to the outside world, the CIIE will achieve continued success in the years ahead, turning China’s enormous market into great opportunities for the whole world. ■