China Center for International Economic Exchanges

Chen wenling: Shanghai expo proves US-led trade war is nonsense
Date:Oct 31,2018    Source:CCIEE

Source:Global Times      Date: 2018/10/29

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on November 5, and the expo will serve as a chance for countries to showcase their national image and promote free and open trade, a senior official said on Monday. 

Chinese experts noted that the expo, to be held from November 5 to 10, will gather participants from about 150 countries and regions, and shows China's determination to build a more balanced and open economy in the 40 years since implementing its opening-up and reform policy. 

Senior leaders arround the globe, including Russia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Switzerland, Kenya and Cuba, will attend the expo, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement released on Monday. 

Xi will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony and visit the country pavilions with foreign leaders, Vice Commerce Minister Fu Ziying told a press conference on Monday.

The Chinese president and his wife Peng Liyuan will host a welcome dinner on Sunday and will meet heads of state and government at the expo, Fu said.

Aiming higher

The CIIE will serve as a chance for China to push the opening-up policy to a higher level, improve the quality of international trade and restructure domestic industries to make the country a more friendly and competitive market, Chen Wenling, chief economist of the China Center for Economic Exchanges, told the Global Times on Monday.

"China's economy is not export-oriented. The country has always attached great importance to imports, as well as measures to address the trade deficit with other countries and regions, and the CIIE is a strong sign of that," Chen said.

"The expo proves that the US-initiated trade war with China - using the trade deficit with China as an excuse — is nonsense and groundless," Chen stressed. 

China's trade surplus with the US shrank 14.2 percent in 2017 to 2.87 trillion yuan ($442.4 billion), compared with a 9.1 percent decrease in 2016, according to data released by China's General Administration of Customs in January.

Analysts noted that the CIIE is also a platform for countries which hope to build a more open and sound trade environment to get better involved in global governance, as the expo will be held when the global economy faces downward pressure on foreign direct investment (FDI) and severe challenges from protectionism and unilateralism. 

Global FDI flows slid by 23 percent in 2017, to $1.43 trillion from $1.87 trillion in 2016, according to the World Investment Report 2018 released by the UN Conference on Trade and Development in June. 

The CIIE is the first Chinese commercial fair to focus exclusively on imported goods and services. More than 3,000 companies from over 130 countries and regions, including 50 along the routes of Belt and Road initiative, will participate in the expo, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

A large number of participants have shown that globalization and free trade are the mainstream and the expo is a platform for economies to seize the initiative in promoting global trade, said Yang Changyong, a senior research fellow at the Institute for International Economic Research under the National Development and Reform Commission.

The expo also demonstrates that the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative is a significant platform to facilitate connections and trade between economies to better address the uncertainties in economic development, Yang told the Global Times. 

A total of 82 countries and three international organizations will showcase their achievements in economic and trade development as well as products at 71 booths which cover an area of about 30,000 square meters, Vice Commerce Minister Fu Ziying said.

The participating countries and regions are highly complementary economies with China's market, such as those experiencing preliminary industrialization with a sufficient supply of agricultural and energy products, Yang said. 

For China, the CIIE could facilitate the country's supply-side structural reform as high-end domestic products could be stimulated and upgraded with the presence of imported goods and services from competitive international markets, Yang noted.

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