|Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian: China is Ready to Share Its Enormous Market Opportunities with the World|
On 6 November, Business Day, Independent Media published an article by H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian titled China International Import Expo: China is Ready to Share Its Enormous Market Opportunities with the World. The full text is as follow:
On 5-10 November, the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) will be held in Shanghai. The Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders from governments, businesses, and international organizations from around 172 countries and regions will attend. Over 3,600 businesses from the world will be represented, of which over 200 are Fortune 500 companies. More than 5,000 new types of products will enter the Chinese market for the first time. 12 “Guests of Honor”, including South Africa, Russia, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, UK, and Germany have set up dedicated national pavillions in the Expo. Over 400,000 purchasers from China and overseas will hold discussions and seek buisiness opportunities.
As a pioneering step in the history of international trade, the CIIE is the world’s first ever national import expo. It is a major measure and concrete action of China to proactively open its market, firmly support trade liberalization and economic globalization, and to pursue win-win cooperation for common development with the world.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. Over the past 40 years, China has achieved over 30 times of GDP growth, averaging an annual growth rate of 9.5%. China’s Foreign trade volume has been growing at 14.5% per year. The life of the nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people has been transformed from austerity to moderate prosperity, lifting over 700 million out of poverty, and enabling over 400 million to successfully become the middle class-income population. China has created a development miracle never happened before in the textbook of human history. Through reform and opening up, China has fundamentally ensure the basic human rights to work, to housing, to food, to hospital, and to school for its 1.4 billion population, making a great example for the world in promoting the great cause of human rights. Today, as the world’s second largest economy and as the main engine for the world economy, China has for many years maintained over 30% contribution to world economic growth, and has for many years remained the largest trading partner of over 100 countries across the world, including the United States, Russia, Japan, South Africa, and European countries.
As a beneficiary of reform and opening up, China is also surely a staunch supporter of an open world economy, and of further reform and opening up. Since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2000, China’s overall tariff has been reduced from 15.3% to 9.8%, and according to the WTO, China's weighted tariff had fallen to 4.4%, which means that China has fully fulfilled its commitment to all WTO members. Moving forward, China has committed to continuing tariff reduction to more imported goods. In 2017, China’s contribution to global import and export trade registered 10.2% and 12.8% respectively, ranking the second and the first place globally. In the same year, China’s consumer goods retail sales recorded close to 6 trillion US dollars, making the world’s second largest consumer market. On average, Chinese citizens spend about 200 billion US dollars yearly abroad on consumer goods, purchasing large amounts of high-end consumer goods.
China is firmly committed to reform and opening up and is willing to share with the world its huge and rapidly growing business opportunities, so as to achieve common prosperity. With its nearly 1.4 billion population and the largest middle-income population, China has already become the world’s second largest importer and consumer market. It is estimated that in the next 15 years, China’s goods imports will exceed 30 trillion US dollars, while services imports will exceed 10 trillion US dollars, offering a tremendous market for world business production and exports.
Today, certain country, in order to pursue its short-sighted selfish interest, has gone out of its way to launch protectionist attacks around the world, willfully resorting to the weapons of tariff, and recklessly sabotaging the rule-based international free trade regime. These moves have been met with the strongest opposition and condemnation by the peoples of the world. We firmly believe that, a trade war should be rejected, because there will be no winner. Economic hegemony is even more objectionable, as it will undermine the collective interests of the international community; those who pursue this course will only end up hurting themselves.
Under such circumstances, it is meaningful and significant for China to take the lead to host this International Import Expo. It will not only show to the world our commitment to win-win cooperation for common development and our determination and resolve for further reform and opening up, but also more importantly, to create fresh opportunities and to set up new platforms for countries around the world to grow their export to China, so as to share business and growth opportunities together.
The Chinese President Xi Jinping has made the commitment that, “the door of China’s opening up will not close. It will only open wider." China stands ready to share its development opportunities with the rest of the world. Moving forward, the Chinese government will continue to relax market access, improve investment environment, and strengthen protection of intellectual property rights. We will continue to reduce tariff on automobiles and consumer goods, and take active steps to further expand import. These measures will greatly facilitate market access and export growth, and create new business opportunities for foreign companies to the Chinese market.
The Chinese government will firmly hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and win-win, follow the principle to planning together, building together, and sharing together, and leverage the opportunities of the Belt and Road Initiative and the International Import Expo, to continue the efforts to promote a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win co-operation and to build a community with a shared future for mankind, so as to make greater contribution to world durable peace and common prosperity.
China has for 9 years remained South Africa’s largest trading partner, and South Africa has for 8 years in a row remained China’s biggest trading partner in Africa. In 2017, China-South Africa two-way trade reached 39.17 billion US dollars, an increase of over 26 times since the beginning of diplomatic ties. China is willing to make it a priority to share with South Africa its 1.4 billion population market. We will continue to take active measures to open up the Chinese market and encourage more South African exports to China. South Africa is already the first African country to export beef to China, and its exports of minerals, fruits, wine, and marine products are also growing fast. We look forward to more South African businesses seizing the opportunities of the China International Import Expo to enter the Chinese market, and to harvest more fruitful results from China-South Africa friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation.