Peace is a natural effect of trade. If the political philosopher Montesquieu is right, then peace should be with us for quite some time. Just look at the China International Import Expo, now in its second year, growing bigger and greater. How?
Let's count the ways: 64 countries, about 4,000 companies, at least 250 among them in Fortune 500 and top tier. A lot is going on at the expo and these scenes too...
Is China trying to window-dress at a time of uncertainty in the global business and trade environment? Is this expo in Shanghai an effort to shore up China's confidence and self-assurance on the world stage when the top two largest economies are head-to-head in negotiations?
No matter what the answer is, it is not the point. What really matters is the effort to establish a platform where the world comes to trade.
China is a big part of, and key contributor to global trade. Thanks to its market of 1.4 billion people, its expanding middle class, its ever-rising curiosity and its desire to incorporate the best of the world into Chinese life.
The about 4,000 companies from all over the world at the expo understand these facts well. They have had enough bad news and uncertainties over the past few years. We know better too, that to nurture global growth, geopolitics and national security should be far from the overruling priorities.
Instead, America's global, local companies and institutions are here to show their priorities. Even though there is no official U.S. delegation, American companies have taken the lion's share of the exhibition area at the expo with their sheer size and number.
Doesn't this contrast tell us something about what people really want?
As China and the U.S. work out trade issues, they, as big and powerful as they are, both account for only 40 percent of the global GDP. There's still the 60 percent contributed by the rest of the world. Their roles and interactions with the Chinese market are indispensable.
Meanwhile, besides progress between Chinese and American negotiators still trying to map out consensus for a phase one deal, there are other achievements worth a pat on the back. For one, the likely final coming into being of RCEP, which stands for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a free trade agreement between ASEAN countries and some of the most important economies of Asia Pacific Region, China included.
No nation was ever ruined by trade. Benjamin Franklin had that foresight a few hundred years back. We only hope that today, if we could not know better, at least heed the words of those with wisdom from the ages.
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