Opinion: Import expo opens doors for developing countries
Updated 10:18, 14-Nov-2018

Editor's note: The following article is an editorial piece first published by China Plus on November 10, 2018.

"Come and taste the honey from the Zambian wilderness!"

"Turkish vegan ice cream will give you a new taste experience."

"You haven't had shrimp crackers until you've eaten Indonesia's world-leading brand Finna."

These are some of the pitches ringing out in the food and agricultural product halls of the inaugural China International Import Expo exhibitors from developing and least-developed countries competed for attention in what was the busiest part of the expo venue, and many buyers stopped to negotiate new deals with them.

On the last day of the public opening day of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, the audience watched the Da Vinci surgical robot surgery demonstration, November 10, 2018. /VCG Photo.

On the last day of the public opening day of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, the audience watched the Da Vinci surgical robot surgery demonstration, November 10, 2018. /VCG Photo.

In his speech at the opening of the expo and on earlier international occasions as well, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that "A single flower does not make spring; one hundred flowers in full bloom is what brings spring to the garden."

By this, he meant that a great many countries around the world need to open their economies and to trade if all of the world's people are to enjoy growing prosperity.

This is why, just as developed countries had the opportunity to showcase their advanced technologies and products at the expo, developing and least-developed countries were also there to promote their products, which represent the unique characteristics of their local economies, including goods such as agricultural products, clothing, and other products used in daily life.

The developing and least-developed countries also had the opportunity to share with the attendees their spectacular tourism opportunities.

The import expo in Shanghai shows that the pursuit of happiness is a shared goal of the entire world's people and that no one should be left behind on the path of development.

FUN CANADA wild animal specimens attracted visitors' attention at the first China International Import Expo clothing and consumer goods exhibition area, November 10, 2018. /VCG Photo.

FUN CANADA wild animal specimens attracted visitors' attention at the first China International Import Expo clothing and consumer goods exhibition area, November 10, 2018. /VCG Photo.

President Xi Jinping's philosophies of "building a community of shared future", and his belief in "pursuing inclusive development for the benefit of all", are some of the ways that China has signaled its willingness to help ensure that no country gets left behind.

In this regard, import expo is a good example of inclusive development. More than 3,600 companies were involved in the exhibition, encompassing 172 countries, regions, and international organizations. They include G20 member states, BRICS countries, SCO member states, 58 Belt and Road countries, and 35 of the world's least-developed countries.

China offered two free stalls to each of the least-developed countries that were attending, gave them exemptions from shipping charges, and organized dedicated trade and investment briefings to make it easier for these countries to do their business.

Through the joint efforts of China and many other countries, and because of the uniqueness of their products, developing and least-developed countries won a fair share of the deals signed in Shanghai this week.

At the first exhibition of the International Exhibition of China International Import Expo, the Ferrari F1 car attracted the attention of visitors, November 10, 2018. /VCG Photo.

At the first exhibition of the International Exhibition of China International Import Expo, the Ferrari F1 car attracted the attention of visitors, November 10, 2018. /VCG Photo.

For example, the meat processor JBS Group from Brazil signed a three-year purchase order worth 1.5 billion US dollars with Alibaba on the second day of the expo, and a Zambian jeweler was overwhelmed with requests from buyers eager to be their agent in China's domestic market.

Positive experiences such as these illustrate why World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said that China has established good relationships with developing and least-developed countries, and they are bound to benefit from China's expansion of imports.

According to the United Nations List of Least-Developed Countries in 2017, there are still more than 40 least-developed countries in the world. China is the biggest investor in these countries.

At the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg in July, President Xi said no matter how it develops, China will "staunchly support the development of developing countries." The level of inclusive participation by countries such as these in the import expo is a testament to China being true to its promises.

British high-end porcelain household items were displayed at the International Exhibition of China International Import Expo, November 10, 2018. /‍VCG Photo.

British high-end porcelain household items were displayed at the International Exhibition of China International Import Expo, November 10, 2018. /‍VCG Photo.

Currently, anti-globalization forces and trade protectionism are on the rise. This has put more pressure on the world's economy during its current downturn. Developing and least-developed countries that lie in the middle and lower end of the industrial chain are most prone to risks and challenges.

In order to carry out the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to face the difficulties and challenges that all people share, China's efforts alone will not be enough.

All countries need to look beyond their differences and disagreements and make full use of their advantages to champion inclusive development.

As President Xi pointed out during his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the import expo this week, "In a world of deepening economic globalization, practices of the law of the jungle and winner-takes-all only represent a dead end. Inclusive growth for all is surely the right way forward." And the China International Import Expo was more certainly a new door to the right way forward.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, contact us at opinions@cgtn.com)