By staff reporter ZHANG HUI
November 5 marked the formal kick-off of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE). At the opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a keynote speech, which was met by warm applause not only from Chinese attendees but from foreign guests as well.
“I think it was a very good speech. It focused on China’s opening-up, continuing to work for free trade, reducing restrictions on trade, and supporting IPR (intellectual property right). So I think there were a lot of strong messages, consistent messages that bode well for growing trade in the world, and encouranging businesses and countries to work together,” Chief Operating Officer of METRO AG Philipppe Palazzi told China Today.
He went on to say, “I think since its entry into the WTO, China has actually been pushing for free trade. I think it's very positive at this point in time. It’s brave for China to take a stand. The expo is a good idea for further opening up the Chinese market. This is a good example of that.”
Willingness to Continue Opening-up
“What has impressed me most about President Xi’s speech is the willingness of China to continue opening the Chinese market to other countries, as well as giving opportunities to countries to showcase their products. I think the international community supports the Chinese example, congratulating Xi Jinping for leading the way. This is a way of the future and is the only way that can solve the problems which most our countries are facing,” Rwandan Ambassador to China Charles Kayonga told China Today.
Strength of Commitment
“This first CIIE is a milestone in history for encouraging imports to China. That sends out a very positive signal to the world. And I can only compliment the country for this leadership role it has chosen to take. I have been impressed by the strong commitment the president has shown to the world with regards to making an open, collaborative society. And this is the contribution China is making towards this development,” said Chairman of Roche Holding Ltd. Dr. Christoph Franz.
He also indicated, “We have seen a much better competitive environment with regards to doing business in China. For example, we have seen this in a much faster approval of new and innovative medicines by the Chinese health authorities.”
Open, Free Trade
“Openness was a very strong and very clear message emphasized by the president. You know the world lives on open trade and innovation is driven by trade. The way forward is open trade between all nations delivering a level platform on which we can all grow and lift the standards of living in all countries, and open, free trade is the way to do that,” President of Food & Ingredients of Bunge Limited Gordon Hardie told China Today.
“What China has done so far is very impressive. I believe that the initiatives that China has taken so far in the steps to opening up will not stop. Obviously, the Belt and Road Initiative helps countries across the region get well connected. Years ago, it was just a concept or an idea, but now it is quite advanced at this stage. So I am very impressed. I am very impressed with Xi’s willingness to reach out, to normalize business more than it is today, and already he has made great progress in this area,” President and CEO of Bureau Veritas Oliver Butler told China Today.