Xi says China will widen market access as CIIE opens

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Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses visitors to the CIIE. (PHOTO SOURCE: XINHUA)
Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses visitors to the CIIE. (PHOTO SOURCE: XINHUA)

Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) on Tuesday with a promise to ease market access, counter protectionism and boost economic globalization.

“Of the problems confronting the world economy, none can be resolved by a single country alone,” Xi said in a keynote speech at the CIIE opening ceremony in Shanghai. “We must all put the common good of humanity first rather than place one’s own interest above the common interest of all.”

The Chinese president urged countries to tear down walls rather than build them, and “work together to make the pie of the global market even bigger.”

Xi added that China will pursue five key measures to further open up its market, seek high-quality bilateral and multilateral trade deals and work with other countries to achieve development for all.

Five opening up measures

Xi said China will expand market opening up and optimize the framework to do so, deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation, improve the business environment and work with others to build the Belt and Road Initiative.

He added that China will open its door only wider to the world, noting decisions at the recent Communist Party of China Central Committee fourth plenum will encourage further opening up and deepen reform.

Tariff barriers have been reduced and the negative list shortened, Xi said, while efforts to continue to lower institutional transaction costs will continue.

The Chinese president argued that the trend of economic globalization could not be stopped, but a cooperative, innovative and sharing approach was needed to boost it.

“We should continue to ‘hold each other’s hand’, not to ‘let go.’ We should continue to ‘bring down walls’, not to ‘build walls’. We should resolutely oppose to protectionism and unilateralism.

The expo’s venue is seen in Shanghai just ahead of its grand opening. (PHOTO SOURCE: XINHUA)

“We need to strengthen the mechanisms for sharing benefits globally and explore new ways of international cooperation. The goal is to give more impetus to economic globalization and remove impediments.”

He also voiced opposition to any knowledge blockade in order to avoid creating or even widening the technological divide.

Xi told the audience of business and political leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, that China’s middle-income population is the biggest in the world and that its “market points to potential that is unlimited.”

“The Chinese market is such a big one,” he said, “that you should all come to see what it has to offer.”

RCEP breakthrough welcomed

Xi welcomed the breakthrough made on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, on which member states concluded text negotiations and essentially all market access negotiations in recent days.

“I hope the agreement will be signed and enter into force at an early date,” he said.

The Chinese president added that China was open to conclude high-standard trade deals with other countries, saying he hoped to speed up talks on an investment deal with the European Union as well as the proposed China-Japan-South Korea free trade agreement and an FTA with the Gulf Council.

Xi also stressed the importance of upholding the core values and basic principles of the multilateral trading regime, and highlighted the need to support and reform the World Trade Organization.

Visitors from around the world attend the 2nd annual CIIE in Shanghai. (PHOTO SOURCE: XINHUA)

Progress since first CIIE

The CIIE, an opportunity for companies across the globe to introduce goods and services to the Chinese market, is being held in Shanghai from Tuesday to Sunday.

Xi summarized China’s progress since the first CIIE in 2018, noting that five areas of further opening and three specific areas for Shanghai to open wider had largely been put in place.

Sixty-four nations will hold their own exhibitions at the 2019 event and more than 3,000 companies from over 150 countries and regions are expected to attend. China’s Ministry of Commerce has said 192 U.S. companies will attend the event, up from 174 in 2018.

Deals for intended one-year purchases of goods and services worth 57.83 billion U.S. dollars were reached at the first CIIE, with more than 90 percent of the contracts completed to date.

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