China is a beneficiary as well as a contributor in terms of economic globalization, the free trade and multilateral trade system. According to the World Bank, China contributed more than 30 percent to world economic growth over the period of 2013-2017, outstripping the U.S., European Union, and Japan. The latest World Trade Statistical Review released by the World Trade Organization showed that China’s imports and exports accounted for 10.2 percent and 12.8 percent of the world’s total in 2017, ranking second and first respectively.
Economic globalization has generated unprecedented development, but also exacerbated development deficits and the North-South gap. Two-thirds of developing economies are heavily reliant on exporting primary products. By contrast, some developed nations have successively withdrawn from international organizations, undermining the existing multilateral institutions for economic and trade cooperation and governance.
Against such a backdrop, China has pledged to host an international import expo in a bid to voluntarily share its development dividends by further opening up its domestic market to foreign businesses. The move offers an opportunity for new institutions and public goods to ease deficits in global economic governance. In the next five years, it is estimated that China will import more than US $8 trillion of goods and services and introduce more policies to facilitate imports.
As the second largest economy with nearly one-fifth of the world’s population, China has emerged as the fastest growing and most promising consumer market. In 2016, the country was the largest source of outbound tourists. Data show that Chinese consumers spent US $200 billion when traveling abroad in 2016, making them the most powerful buyers across the world. Besides purchasing a wealth of foreign goods, China has contributed to increasingly booming tourism and hospitality services in destination countries. Moreover, China promised to slash import tax on a wide range of sectors like vehicles, upmarket consumer goods, and healthcare products. More imports will effectively boost the economy and employment of China’s trade partners.
As China restructures its economy, it will import more high-tech products and services in the coming years, specifically in the sectors of information technology, smart manufacturing, aerospace, and biotechnology. In addition, in line with the increasing importance attached to green development and environmental protection, the demand for advanced equipment and technologies for energy conservation, emission reduction, and clean energy is also expected to rise.
In regard to China’s services import, legal and accounting services and intellectual property rights will present great potential for the world’s businesses. The expansion of imports on high-tech products will not only serve China’s own demands, but also promote global innovation. China’s ongoing demands will also encourage more technological innovation, including among its own businesses, and optimize global division of labor in the manufacturing of high-tech products.
In addition, statistics by the Ministry of Commerce show that China is a signatory to 15 free trade agreements. They enable China to import some 8,000 products with zero tariff from 23 countries and regions.
While sustaining its own economic growth and improvement of people’s livelihood, China will offer robust momentum to the recovery and progress of the world economy in a post-financial crisis world by expanding imports on a wide range of products and services.
In response to rising protectionism and unilateralism, China has seized the initiative and opened its doors wider, sharing its own development by providing opportunities to the world. With concrete actions, China is practicing peaceful development and building a community with a shared future for mankind.