Let hope grow from China's first-ever import expo
Updated 08:00, 08-Nov-2018
Tian Wei
"Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom" was a slogan extremely popular 60 years ago when differing views and solutions to national policy were encouraged and discussed in China. It is no surprise that in this environment, the first-ever China import and export expo, long known as the Canton Fair, was held for the very first time. Even today, it is still regarded as a crucial window for China to the rest of the world.
However, the size of the Chinese economy, then, was nothing compared to what it is today. Sixty-one years later, at a time when China is the world's second largest economy, the country knows it needs to embark on a new journey with everybody else, and it must be a win-win option. The First China International Import Expo (CIIE), thus, is a crystallization of that journey.
So far, it is more than promising. Here are some interesting numbers: the CIIE will see 160,000 buyers from over 80,000 domestic and foreign companies, exceeding the organizer's expectations. But, they did not come here just to be in China, they come with ample reasons. China has been the world's second largest importer of goods for nine consecutive years; the country made up 10.2 percent of global imports in 2017; the country also announced import tariff cuts on 1,585 industrial products including machinery, spare parts and raw materials from November 1, after removing tariffs from most imported medicines in May and reducing tariffs on cars and consumer products in July. It is also one of the world's largest markets for high-end products such as industrial robots, chips, and machine tools.
But even more importantly, it is about the message that CIIE will send.
This is happening at a time when the debate about globalization and global trade is in focus. This is also a time when global governance is struggling, as some countries' short-term self-interests have become the priority in terms of national policy. This is also a time when the world is struggling to find inspiring role models for nurturing trade. One could also imagine how much the CIIE could support that quest.
On the other hand, China is celebrating its 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up this year.
These policies are regarded as some of the most successful choices modern China has made since it was founded almost 70 years ago. However, the reform and opening-up did not come easily, but with decades of political and economic hardship. Now, the country is in another critical stage of development, trying to identify the real values and end goals of its further, rapid development. This is now crucial not only for China but also extremely relevant to the rest of the world.
It's not just about products being exhibited, deals being made or contracts being signed, it's also about how we create hope together through real actions.
(CGTN anchor Tianwei is going to host The Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum from November 5 in Shanghai, where heads of states, entrepreneurs, scholars will discuss their visions of future trade. For more: CIIE2018: New Era, Shared Future)