Opinion: Freer trade and further opening up are highlighted in Xi’s speech at CIIE
Updated 08:53, 09-Nov-2018
Kong Qingjiang
Editor's note: Kong Qingjiang is the dean of the School of International Law under China University of Political Science and Law. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on November 5, 2018.
Announced by the president himself in May 2017, the CIIE is a "trail-blazing" move in the history of international trade development. It is the first-ever import-themed national-level expo.
The CIIE showcases China's efforts to expand imports. Albeit one of the world's largest importers, China has been accused of engaging in mercantile trade behaviors and failing to live up to its WTO commitments concerning market access.
Despite the baseless accusations, President Xi announced in his April 2018 speech at the Boao Forum for Asia a series of measures to allow greater market access, which have been already implemented. The CIIE is a new initiative to further expand imports.
The serial CIIEs are not a makeshift, but a demonstration that China will become more and more open. The launch of the CIIE sends a clear message that China is determined to embrace the principle of inclusive development and shared benefits, and committed to the principle of common development.
People gather at the CIIE in Shanghai, November 5. /VCG Photo

People gather at the CIIE in Shanghai, November 5. /VCG Photo

Xi's keynote speech, as well as the CIIE, is also an indicator that China is a fervent supporter for free trade and economic globalization. The launch of the CIIE serial shows that in the minds of the Chinese leader, globalization is such an irreversible historical trend that China shall actively get involved even when the country is having a hard time due to the rise of unilateralism and protectionism.
The United States, in particular, erected trade barriers against its trade partners, including imposing hefty tariffs on 250 billion US dollars of Chinese goods. China's resolve in promoting free trade and opening its market wider has never been stronger even in the face of adversity. 
The CIIE is expected to generate a trade volume of hundreds of billions of US dollars, injecting vitality into the trade relations between China and its trade partners. Xi's speech at the CIIE is also a stimulus, if not a gospel, to the traders whose confidence has been inflicted by the depression associated with the protectionism.
It is widely expected that the expanding Chinese market will provide strong momentum for the world economic development. The country's imported goods and services are estimated to exceed 30 trillion USD and 10 trillion USD, respectively, in the next 15 years. Traders across the world cannot afford ignoring or losing the Chinese market.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates (C) attends a forum at the CIIE at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, November 5, 2018. /VCG Photo‍

Microsoft founder Bill Gates (C) attends a forum at the CIIE at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, November 5, 2018. /VCG Photo‍

President Xi announced in his speech that China is taking solid steps to expand financial opening up, continue to advance opening up in the service sector, deepen opening up in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and accelerate the opening-up process of sectors including telecommunications, education, medical treatment and culture.
While outlining China's move to liberalize its trade and investment environment, he also advised that all countries should be committed to opening up. They also should oppose protectionism and unilateralism in a clear-cut stand, stick to innovation and accelerate the transition with traditional growth drivers being replaced by new ones, and strive to improve their own business environment and solve their own problems.
The President's advice is worth being considered by certain countries that place their own interests first and indulge in blaming others in the time of need for shared responsibility.
China is pushing forward multilateral and bilateral cooperation in pursuit of common development. It welcomes joint efforts of all the stakeholders of the economic globalization.
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