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Expo a vote of confidence in open global economy: China Daily editorial

China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-29 20:51
Signs promoting the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) are seen at Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, on Oct 17, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

It might be the worst of times for China's economy given the rise of unilateralism and protectionism as represented by the United States, in particular, erecting trade barriers against its trade partners, including imposing hefty tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods.

Yet it could also be the best of times for China's deepening reform and opening-up, for in the face of adversity the country's resolve to promote free trade and open its market wider has never been stronger.

The country's growth over the past four decades is a success story which proves that only through opening-up and full economic engagement with the rest of the world can the country prosper.

Thus those attending the first China International Import Expo will find that China's pursuit of opening-up in greater breadth and depth will bring immense opportunities for them.

To be held from Nov 5 to 10 in Shanghai, the expo will serve as platform to strengthen cooperation in international free trade and act as a confidence booster for economic globalization and a counterstrike against protectionism.

China has said it will import products and services with a value of over $10 trillion over the next five years, and the expo has attracted more than 3,000 companies from over 130 countries and regions keen to take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

Despite the challenges it faces, China remains the world's largest and most vibrant consumer market with limitless potential. Foreign direct investment surged over 6 percent in the first eight months of the year. That explains why most of China's trade partners except the United States, which is having a bit of a hissy fit at the moment, have decided to send high-profile delegations to the expo.

That President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony and deliver a keynote speech before visiting the pavilions of different countries with foreign leaders — as disclosed at a news conference on Monday — reflects that this is an initiative from the top that will "hold the banner of opening-up and reform even higher".

China has promised to cut import tariffs for more than 1,500 industrial goods starting in November, which will bring the overall tariff rate down to 7.5 percent, a lower-middle level by international standards. It also plans to further open up its financial services sector after lifting curbs on foreign ownership of auto producers.

As such, the US is simply cutting off its nose to spite its face to prove a point that China is already in the process of addressing.

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