President Xi renews global trade call at CIIE opening
Updated 11:50, 08-Nov-2018
By John Goodrich
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday urged for free trade to be embraced and warned against seclusion, confrontation and monopoly in his keynote speech at the opening of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, which comes at a pivotal moment for global commerce.
"The CIIE is hosted by China with the support of the WTO and other international organizations as well as a large number of participating countries. It is not a China only show but rather a chorus involving countries from around the world."
 -  Chinese President Xi Jinping
Xi told an audience of national, financial and business leaders at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai that China would continue to broaden market access to foreign companies and pledged to create a world-class business environment.
Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the  China International Import Expo in Shanghai, November 5, 2018. /CGTN Photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the  China International Import Expo in Shanghai, November 5, 2018. /CGTN Photo

China has implemented a series of tariff cuts recently and the CIIE is regarded as a symbol of the country's determination to increase imports and further open its markets.
Xi said that China's imported goods and services are estimated to exceed 30 trillion US dollars and 10 trillion US dollars, respectively, in the next 15 years.

'Openness brings progress'

Xi stressed that openness and cooperation are essential to global progress and that multilateralism is vital to counter growing risks and challenges.
China has embraced the world, Xi said, and the world has benefited from China's opening up, but economic globalization faces headwinds and multilateralism and free trade are under threat.
The Chinese president warned that "the law of the jungle and the winner-takes-all only lead to a dead end" and stressed that inclusive growth, not protectionism, is the only route to prosperity for all. "Openness brings progress, seclusion leads to backwardness," he added.
"History tells us that openness and cooperation are a major driving force behind dynamic economic activities. The current situation also calls for openness and cooperation to foster the steady global recovery. Looking ahead, openness and cooperation will remain essential for continued human progress."
 -  Chinese President Xi Jinping
He emphasized that innovation was the most important engine for development, and called for cooperation in the digital, artificial intelligence (AI) and nanotechnology sectors.
Xi acknowledged that the Chinese economy faced challenges but said those issues were being addressed and that the outlook was positive for continued steady development.
"The Chinese economy is not a pond but a sea. The sea may have its calm days but big winds and storms are only to be expected. Without them, the sea wouldn't be what it is. Big storms and winds may overturn a pond but never a sea."
 -  Chinese President Xi Jinping
Likening China's economy to an ocean, Xi said China will inevitably face occasional storms but will always be able to weather them.

Further opening up

40 years on from the start of China's reform and opening up process, Xi listed a series of areas in which the door would be opened wider to foreign companies and investment.
Xi said China would stimulate the potential for increased imports, not as a choice of expediency, but as an essential decision for the future. 
Proactive measures will be taken to increase people's incomes and their purchasing power, Xi said, to cultivate new areas of domestic consumption.
He added that more efforts would be made to facilitate customs clearance, lower tariffs and step up cross-border e-commerce.
"China will not stop its efforts to pursue high quality opening up; China will not stop its efforts to pursue an open world economy; China will not stop its efforts to pursue a community with a shared future for mankind."
 -  Chinese President Xi Jinping
China has shortened the negative list on foreign investment and is steadily increasing the openness of the financial and service sectors, as well as working on opening the agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors, Xi said.
China's medical and education markets will also be opened to foreign businesses and capital.
A world-class business environment, that protects the rights of foreign companies and ensures equal access, will be implemented, Xi said, adding that intellectual property protection will be strictly enforced and punitive measures will be in place for any violators.
"The vision for a better world for all, calls for all countries to act with great courage and actively champion openness and cooperation in order to secure shared development."
 -  Chinese President Xi Jinping
Xi added that new horizons for opening up will be explored by advancing free trade zones (FTZ) and ports, and international cooperation will be further promoted through mechanisms like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). He pledged to speed up negotiations on the China-EU investment agreement and a China-Japan-Republic of Korea free trade area.
The Chinese president also announced new measures to ensure Shanghai can play a greater role in the opening up process, including setting up new districts in the China (Shanghai) Pilot FTZ.
The CIIE is the first ever Chinese fair focusing exclusively on imported foreign goods and services and the world's first import-themed national exhibition.
More than 3,600 companies from over 172 countries, regions and international organizations are attending the event from November 5 to 10, seeking a slice of the huge Chinese consumer market. Over 400,000 foreign and Chinese buyers are expected to pursue deals at the CIIE.