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China Opens doors wider to the World
Consul General Lin Jing

The second China International Import Expo (CIIE) kicked off in Shanghai on Tuesday. This is the second consecutive year that the Chinese government is hosting this event.

It is also the world’s first import expo held at national level, an innovation in the history of global trade. The first China International Import Expo (CIIE), held in the same period last year, attracted 172 countries, regions and international organizations, and more than 3,600 companies. The one-week exhibition generated a turnover totalling $57.8 billion (R855.9bn).

Hosting the CIIE was an important part of China’s desire to open up trade at a high level and widen market access to the rest of the world.

It demonstrates China’s commitment to promote free trade and is a concrete action to advance an open world economy and support economic globalization.

After the first CIIE, fresh milk from New Zealand farms has successfully been enjoyed by ordinary families in China's third- and fourth-tier cities, and even remote, mountainous villages.

The latest generation of precise, automated gamma knives made by Swedish medical companies have been officially put into use by hospitals in Shanghai.

And the jute handicrafts weaved by impoverished Bangladesh women have been displayed on the counters of high-end department stores in China... all living examples that have contributed to the popularity of the second CIIE this year.

At the joint media briefing by Chinese President Xi Jingping and French President Emmanuel Macron during President Xi’s visit to Europe in March, he said, "China took the initiative to host CIIE, a platform aiming at buying foreign goods to provide a solution for trade imbalance issues.”

“It will also benefit the Chinese people, for they need more international, high-quality products."

From “selling across the world” to “buying from the world”, from export-driven to consumption-led, China’s economy is undergoing profound transformation. By hosting the CIIE, China demonstrates to the world that “China will not close her doors but open them wider to the world”.

Our confidence lies in the vast and enormous domestic market, the ever-growing number of middle class consumers (which has already reached 400 million) and the continuously optimized consumption market upgraded from “food, clothing and shelter” to “houses, cars and traveling”.

Many friends may have already known that the first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, held in June, themed “Win Win Cooperation for Closer China-African Economic and Trade Partnership”, was held in Changsha, Hunan Province of China.

The Expo is not only an important platform for economic and trade cooperation under the mechanism of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC), but also a concrete action of contribution to a community with a shared future.

Fifty-three African countries including South Africa participated in the Expo. It has added impetus to the ongoing China-Africa collaboration in trade, investments and cooperation in industrialization. After the Expo, an African Products Exhibition Hall opened at Hunan Gaoqiao Market, providing a permanent platform for African products to enter Chinese market.

As the Chinese proverb goes, “A single flower does not make spring, all flowers in full blossom make a beautiful spring.” In a world of deepening economic globalization, the relationship between countries is no longer one like a zero-sum game, but one in which everyone has a stake.

By presenting a platform like CIIE, China has not only opened up new horizons for its own development, but also has brought more new opportunities to the world.

South Africa participated in the 2018 CIIE as one of the 12 guests of honor countries. 15 South African companies are again participating in the CIIE this year. I look forward to witnessing more purchasers from China and around the world forging ties with South African exhibitors at CIIE. I also look forward to seeing more and more South African quality products, such as wine, biltong, and Rooibos tea finding ways in the vast Chinese market.

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