The second China International Import Expo (CIIE) that opened in Shanghai Tuesday is yet another proof that China means business in further bolstering opening up and globalization when protectionism and unilateralism threaten global growth.
In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for resolute opposition to protectionism and unilateralism to jointly build a world economy of openness and cooperation.
He urged continuous efforts to expand and optimize opening up, improve business environment, deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation, and jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative.
A year ago, he called CIIE a major policy for China to push for a new round of high-level opening up and to take the initiative to open its market to the world.
One year on, global growth continues to be weakened by rising trade barriers and growing geopolitical tensions. Major economies are making efforts to bridge differences on trade issue. China does not sit by, nor is it preoccupied with its own interests. Instead, it reaches out to other countries to promote win-win cooperation, and acts as a staunch supporter of free trade.
The opening of the second CIIE proves that China has lived up to its promise and that the trail-blazing expo is not lip service.
Compared with last year's CIIE, this year's event features greater participation and higher quality. It hosts nearly 4,000 companies from 155 countries and regions and is estimated to attract 500,000 buyers and visitors in total. The exhibition space area increased by 60,000 square meters to reach 360,000 square meters.
The enthusiasm of participants fully demonstrates the high recognition and expectation of the international community for CIIE.
It is worth mentioning that 192 U.S. companies participated in the expo, an increase of 18 percent over last year. The floor space of U.S. exhibition area reached 47,500 square meters, taking up the largest exhibition area among all participating countries.
When China and the United States are locked in a prolonged trade woe, the U.S. companies show strong willingness to engage with China, indicating the fact that the two countries are deeply integrated economically and the trend of cooperation is irreversible.
In addition, the expo is also a platform for exhibitors to explore opportunities of teaming up with trading partners other than China.
China's initiative of expanding opening up is particularly valuable in the face of the high wall of trade protectionism erected by certain countries.
Since the first CIIE was held, China has lowered import tariffs four times, and introduced legislations encouraging foreign investment and regulations on improving the business environment, accelerated the construction of pilot free trade zones, and relaxed access requirements for foreign banks and insurance companies. China has demonstrated its determination and sincerity in opening up with concrete actions.
In 2018, China's import value reached 2.14 trillion U.S. dollars. In the past five years, China's import growth contributed 22.7 percent to global import growth. With a population of nearly 1.4 billion and a middle-income population of over 400 million, China's market has become an increasingly important engine driving global economic growth.
The second CIIE is a vote of confidence the world cast on China which will open its door wider and wider.