CIIE important platform to promote int'l trade: UN official
Updated 09:25, 09-Nov-2023
The south square of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue for the 6th China International Import Expo, in east China's Shanghai, October 31, 2023. /Xinhua
The south square of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue for the 6th China International Import Expo, in east China's Shanghai, October 31, 2023. /Xinhua

The south square of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue for the 6th China International Import Expo, in east China's Shanghai, October 31, 2023. /Xinhua

"We view the CIIE as an important platform to promote international trade and to foster dialogue among nations on global economic development, especially in a context of growing South-South cooperation," said Rebeca Grynspan, secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The China International Import Expo (CIIE) has played a role in advocating for open markets and promoting international trade. By focusing on imports as well as exports, it has also emphasized the importance of balanced trade relationships, which is extremely important to many nations around the world, Grynspan said.

As a significant part of the CIIE, which kicked off Sunday in Shanghai, this year's Hongqiao International Economic Forum meets under the banner of "Joining Hands in Development, Opening Up for the Future."

"This is a very important theme which reminds us that no economy, no nation, no society can truly flourish in isolation," Grynspan said.

Opening up is not just about removing trade barriers or encouraging investment. It is about opening minds to new ideas, opening hearts to cultural exchanges, and opening up possibilities for our youth and generations to follow, she said.

At the same time, development is not a zero-sum game, one nation's success does not mean another's downfall. She hopes that this forum will become an opportunity to translate this vision into tangible action, she added.

The CIIE has proven itself as a significant platform for foreign companies from many different countries, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to access and benefit from China's vast market. It presents opportunities to understand market dynamics, connect with partners, and navigate regulatory requirements in a rapidly evolving world, Grynspan said in a recent written media interview.

SMEs account for 90 percent of businesses worldwide, 60 to 70 percent of employment, and 50 percent of all gross domestic product (GDP). It is essential that they can benefit from Chinese growth, trade, and market dynamics, she said.

UNCTAD estimates that global GDP growth will be around 2.4 percent this year, with global trade growth being significantly lower than that, at around 1 percent. This underlines that global trade patterns are shifting, Grynspan said.

China, traditionally an important exporter of goods, is now in the midst of transitioning to a more demand-driven, services-led, digital-powered economy. Nevertheless, China will continue to be a major exporter and importer of goods and services in the global economy, she added.

A recovery is underway after the COVID-19 pandemic, and growth is still slower than before the shock. Still, China has been a bigger contributor to global demand compared to most developed economies, the UN official said.

CIIE important platform to promote int'l trade: UN official

"At UNCTAD we estimate that China will grow at close to 5 percent this year. Given the country's leadership in many cutting-edge industries, such as battery technology, AI (artificial intelligence), and electric vehicles, there is much structural development going on that could signal continued growth going forward," said Grynspan.

The UNCTAD chief said she is "optimistic" about China's economic growth, adding that China's economy has experienced the fastest growth of the three major economic blocs since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. China's growth is built on strengths in industrial production, infrastructure and logistics, and technology, which means it is a dominant player in global trade and value chains.

This year's CIIE has attracted attendees from 154 countries, regions and international organizations and marks the debut of 11 countries in the Country Exhibition, with 34 countries set to make their first offline appearance.

According to a recent global online poll conducted by CGTN, more than 90 percent of the respondents believe China's hosting of the CIIE over the last six years has fully released a strong signal of its continued high-level opening-up to the outside world and believe the CIIE will be an important opportunity for a turbulent world and a global economy with a weak recovery.

Speaking of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Grynspan said it has played an undeniable role in transforming the infrastructure crisis into an infrastructure opportunity.

The BRI has provided much-needed investment in infrastructure and connectivity between and within countries across Asia and beyond. It also provides an opportunity to create soft linkages among BRI partner countries through knowledge-sharing and capacity-building, she said.

UNCTAD is working closely with China and BRI partner countries to identify policy experiences in areas such as trade, the digital economy, and mobilizing finance which were critical components of China's development success along with infrastructure investment, she said.

The BRI and these related capacity-building activities support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda both in China and other developing countries, she added.

As secretary-general of UNCTAD, Grynspan hopes to "further strengthen our ties, understand China's evolving economic landscape, and discuss avenues where UNCTAD can support China and vice versa in our shared goals for a prosperous and sustainable world."

Headquartered in Geneva, UNCTAD was established in 1964 as an intergovernmental organization to promote the interests of developing states in world trade.

(With input from agencies)

Search Trends