China’s huge market and message welcome companies from all over the world to share

Augusto Sarmento - Technology
Reporter : Augusto Sarmento
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Key Points of Foreign Media Conference

28/09/2023

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Dear friends from the international journalistic community

Vice president Liu

Counselor Ning, Director Yulei, Vice president Zhangtao

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon and happy mid-autumn moon festival.

I’m Song Shangzhe from CIIEB( China International Import Expo Bureau) and HQF (HongQiao Forum). I’m so much privileged to be involved in today’s event.

On behalf of the two organizations, I would first, thank Xinhua Network, MOFA Information Dept. and CIPCC, for making today’s gathering possible. We are good partners.

My heartfelt gratitude also goes to our friend journalists. Without your participation, this gathering will not be possible.

I wont forget our colleagues back in the booth helping us with their multilingual competences. And because of their kind assistance, please allow me to go on with my mother tongue.

Tomorrow is the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. On the night of the full moon, families reunite; in mid-autumn, people pray for a good harvest. The Mid-Autumn Festival entrusts Chinese culture and the Chinese people’s wishes for harmony and happiness, family reunions, and abundant harvests. Beautiful prayers are universal and cross-cultural and are the common denominator of human society’s pursuit of beauty and good. The peace, development, and human rights that the United Nations upholds also share this common aspiration.

The meaning of the Mid-Autumn Festival reflects the traditional Chinese cultural values. Traditional culture explains the underlying logic of a series of activities, behaviors, and arrangements under the influence of this culture.

For example, the China International Import Expo and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum that I would like to share with you today, are major measures that are planned, proposed, deployed, and promoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in person, under the logic of continuously strengthening openness and sharing, working together for development, and promoting true multilateralism in the new era. I would like to introduce it specifically to everyone.

1. International public goods shared globally

In May 2017, President Xi Jinping announced at the Belt and Road Summit Forum that China would host the China International Import Expo (CIIE) from 2018. This is the world‘s first national-level exhibition with the theme of “import” and is a major initiative for China to open its market to the world. President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to successfully running the Import Expo, attending the opening ceremony, and delivering keynote speeches for five consecutive years. At the opening ceremony of the fifth CIIE last year, he said: “Holding the CIIE is to expand opening up and make China’s big market a big opportunity for the world.” He pointed out that the CIIE “has become an international public good shared by the world.”

The CIIE is held in Shanghai from November 5 to 10 every year. It is generally composed of four parts: national comprehensive exhibition, corporate and commercial exhibition, Hongqiao Forum, professional supporting facilities and cultural exchanges:

The National Exhibition is an open platform for displaying the comprehensive image of a country, recommending the trade, investment, tourism, humanities, and other situations of various countries, and only displaying them without transactions. Here, you can see the Ethiopian Pavilion that accurately recreates the “Roof of Africa”, the Rwanda Pavilion that passionately dances ethnic dances, the Italian Pavilion that showcases the economic vitality of the “Kingdom of Small and Medium Enterprises”, and the Fiji Pavilion full of South Pacific charm. Countries here showcase their unique style and national philosophy to the world.

The enterprise exhibition highlights that the door to China’s opening up will continue to widen. China’s huge market and message welcome companies from all over the world to share. The enterprise exhibition consists of six exhibition areas, including food and agricultural products, automobiles, technical equipment, consumer goods, medical equipment and healthcare, and service trade, where companies from various countries showcase their product technology and services. Every year, there are a large number of new products and technologies at the CIIE, and last year alone, 422 first exhibitions were held. Here, you can see flying cars, lipstick printers, transparent televisions, robots that can play table tennis, energy-saving and environmentally friendly recycled paper technology, advanced CNC machine tools, etc.

The Hongqiao Forum focuses on the core theme of “global openness” and the functional positioning of “international public goods”, inviting national politicians, leaders of international organizations, and heavyweight officials, industry, academia, and research guests to engage in dialogue and exchange on global economic governance and cutting-edge key and hot issues in the international economy. The Hongqiao Forum continues to raise the attention of developing countries’ issues and gather open consensus within a multilateral framework. For example, the fifth session of the forum related to developing countries includes topics such as “deepening South-South cooperation in industrial parks and special economic zones to accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrialization”, “implementing global development initiatives to build world-class enterprises”, and “promoting global food security and rural revitalization through economic and trade governance”. These forums promote the continuous expansion of the influence of issues related to developing countries.

The forum builds a high-end dialogue platform for the international political, business, academic and research community. French President Macron, former Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, World Trade Organization Director-General Iweala and other heads of state, political figures, and heads of international organizations, as well as heavyweight industry, academia and research guests such as Bill Gates and Christopher Pissarides were all present Participated in forum speech discussions. In addition, the forum also released the “flagship report” “World Openness Report” and the World Openness Index, proposing open cooperation strategies, providing forward-looking policy guidance, and promoting the joint construction of an open world economy.

In addition, we also organize professional supporting and cultural exchange activities, build a dialogue platform between the government and enterprises, deepen the cultural integration of economy, trade, promote exchanges and mutual learning of human civilization, and also help developing countries’ human resources go global.

Currently, there are still 37 days until the sixth CIIE. We are steadily advancing various work, so as to reveal some of the “highlights” of this CIIE to reporters. This year, 60 countries and 3 international organizations participated in the national exhibition. The concentrated participation of Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island countries is a highlight; the China Pavilion will focus on demonstrating China’s promotion of high-level opening up and the latest achievements of high-quality development, and a “10th Anniversary Achievements Exhibition of the Construction of the Pilot Free Trade Zone” will also be set up. At the same time, it is expected that more than 3,300 companies from more than 120 countries and regions will appear at the enterprise exhibition. Ecuadorian unicorn fruit, Philippine durian, Benin pineapple and other exhibits are highly anticipated. In addition, more than 100 supporting conference activities will be held during the conference, and five countries including Indonesia and Malaysia will also participate in people-to-people and cultural exchange exhibition activities. We sincerely welcome everyone to have the opportunity to visit the CIIE in person!

2. The CIIE will turn China’s big market into a big opportunity for the world

The journalists here today come from 70 countries around the world, and many of you are “old friends” of the CIIE. According to our preliminary statistics, 57 of the 70 countries have appeared on the stage of the National Exhibition of the CIIE, and companies from 66 countries have brought special products to thousands of households in China through the platform of the CIIE Enterprise Exhibition (Malaysia, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, Belarus, and other countries have the highest number of exhibitors in previous CIIE exhibitions). For example, the Black Diamond pineapple from the Philippines became an “Internet celebrity” at the CIIE. After being launched in China’s Hema supermarket, monthly sales can now reach 500,000 to 700,000. Pine nuts from Afghanistan, coffee from East Timor, alpaca products from Peru, etc. have all experienced similar “CIIE stories.”

Holding the CIIE is a practical action for China to share development opportunities with developing countries. China has a population of over 1.4 billion and a middle-income group of over 400 million, with a huge market size and the world’s most promising market. China’s huge market demand brings opportunities for developing countries’ commodity exports, two-way investment, and cultural exchange and cooperation. Since 2018, the cumulative intended transaction volume of the five CIIE sessions has reached nearly 350 billion US dollars, with 178 countries participating, including 129 developing and least developed countries. In May of this year, my colleagues and I went to Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and even walked into the headquarters of the African Union to invite local partners to participate in the CIIE.

The CIIE provides an important platform for developing countries to share the Chinese consumer market. Through the CIIE, enterprises from developing countries can more conveniently understand the needs of China and the international market, and Chinese consumers can also understand their unique products. Through the CIIE, characteristic products from developing and least developed countries continue to enter the Chinese market and gain tangible benefits. There is such a set of data in the forthcoming World Opening up Report 2023: from 2017 to 2021, the annual average growth rate of imports from Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, Djibouti, Sao Tome and Principe, Togo and other countries will all exceed 50%, of which the annual average growth rate of imports from Djibouti will be as high as 675%, and a large number of featured products are widely loved by Chinese consumers. East Timor black pepper, Lao tea, Central African Republic wood carving, Ethiopian coffee and other products have become popular products among Chinese consumers through the 5th China International Import and Export Fair.

At the annual CIIE, there are some special “booths” that are free booths provided by CIIE for exhibitors from least developed countries. The small booths open a window to the Chinese market for these countries. Taking the 5th China International Import and Export Fair as an example, free booths are not set up in the corners of the edges, but closer to the entrance passage of the exhibition area and areas with high pedestrian flow. Guinea-Bissau’s cashew nut production ranks sixth in the world, and the booth at the CIIE carries their hope of exploring the Chinese market. On the 5th day of the 5th CIIE, Guinea-Bissau booth received 120 tons of cashew nut orders, equivalent to the previous six months’ orders. An Afghan exhibitor stated that through the 5th CIIE, he received orders for over 2000 carpets, which means bringing a full year’s income to over 2000 families in Afghanistan.

The spillover effect of the CIIE goes beyond the time and space scope of the exhibition itself, and the story of friends from various countries coming to China and staying in China through the CIIE continues. Jeweler Ahmed Aqeel from Pakistan has been exhibiting annually since 2019. In September 2021, he was invited to participate in the “Import Expo Entering Liaoning” investment promotion activity and conduct in-depth research on the local market, thereby obtaining new development opportunities. At the end of 2022, his jewelry brand Wen Sha first store appeared in the shopping mall in the center of Shenyang, northeast of China. Dr. Yok Yee Chan, Consul General of Fiji in Shanghai, shared that Fiji showcased its unique products in the form of a Fiji National Pavilion on the CIIE National Exhibition Platform. Inspired by this, he collaborated with business partners from all over China and, with strong support from local governments, planned to establish several Fiji pavilions that were open throughout the year. In addition, since the first edition, many small and medium-sized enterprises in Fiji have made appearances in the Chinese market through the China International Fair, bringing characteristic products such as natural mineral water, Nori juice, and skincare products, greatly expanding the popularity and influence of Fiji’s products among Chinese consumers.

China has injected a boost into the sluggish world economy through practical actions. The diversified and integrated development of the world today cannot be separated from anyone. No one can solve the problems they face alone. As the world’s second largest economy, China has opened its doors and markets, assumed the responsibility of a major country, and demonstrated its great responsibility. In the new era, share the future. This is Eastern wisdom, Chinese character, and the magnanimity of a great country.

3. Hongqiao Forum

The combination of “exhibition” and “fair” is a major feature of the CIIE, and the 6th CIIE will continue to leverage this advantage to focus on hosting the 6th Hongqiao International Economic Forum.

In addition to the main forum, Hongqiao Forum this year will also hold the “Investment in China Year” summit, the release of the “World Open Report 2023” and international seminar, as well as 22 sub forums under the four sectors of “Open Development”, “Open Cooperation”, “Open Innovation”, and “Open Sharing”.

In terms of setting thematic issues, closely follow open hot topics. This year, Hongqiao Forum, with the theme of “Jointly Promoting Development, Opening up, and Winning the Future”, will set up hot topics such as industrial chain supply chain resilience, digital economy, green development, international standard cooperation, global economic and trade governance, and drug safety governance, taking into account the backdrop of century long changes and new challenges of increasing instability and uncertainty. It will guide in-depth discussions among all parties and further promote open development.

In terms of guest invitation, heavyweight guests gathered. At present, the forum secretariat has collaborated with relevant sub forum co-organizers to invite heavyweight guests from four dimensions: domestic and foreign governments, international organizations, academia, and the business community, and has achieved good results. The heads and senior officials of international organizations such as the United Nations Headquarters, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and the International Trade Center, as well as Nobel Prize and Turing Prize winners such as Jean Tirole, Angus Deaton, Jack Dongarra, and guests such as global executives from Fortune 500 companies, have preliminarily confirmed their attendance. It is expected that more than 300 domestic and foreign guests from over 30 countries and regions will attend the conference. Guests from all walks of life will conduct in-depth exchanges on international issues such as cooperation and development, innovation and sharing from different perspectives, contributing wisdom to global openness. We will continue to release relevant news and welcome media friends to follow our official website news.

Continuously enrich and improve the design of achievements. This year’s forum will continue to release the “World Open Report 2023” and the latest World Open Index, scanning the overall trend of world openness, measuring the level of global openness, and analyzing the difficulties of open development. International organizations and well-known think tanks such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Global Compact, and globalization think tanks will also release professional reports at this year’s forum. The United Nations Industrial and Development Organization will release a compilation of city bridges and an online learning portal for industrial parks. At that time, we welcome media friends to follow and report.

In terms of service guarantee, it is more meticulous and thoughtful. The forum this year actively summarized the experience of previous preparations, adapted to the new situation and new requirements faced by the exhibition after the COVID-19, adhered to the problem orientation, and made further detailed arrangements in terms of guest reception, audience invitation, conference services, certificate registration, etc. We have held several meetings with relevant units in Shanghai to study on-site service work, and wholeheartedly provide convenient services for guests. The registration process for professional audiences in the sub-forum has officially started on September 12th. Media friends present are welcome to register and participate through the official website of the CIIE.

Media friends, please allow me once again to thank you all for attending this meeting. I also sincerely thank CIPCC and Xinhua Network for their strong support for this meeting. I hope that through this introduction, everyone can have a better understanding of the CIIE and the Hongqiao Forum. We hope to use your efforts to pay attention to the CIIE and the Hongqiao Forum.

Thank you!

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