CIIE a Loud Response to Western ‘Decoupling’ Theory: Global Times Editorial

The south plaza of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue for the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE), is pictured in Shanghai, east China, 24 October 2022 The CIIE, the world’s first dedicated import exhibition, will be held in Shanghai from November 5-10. Photo: Xinhua

The opening ceremony of the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum will be held in Shanghai on Friday. Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech via video. The national-level import-themed exhibition is initiated by China. It has been unique in the international market over the past five years, achieving fruitful results far exceeding global expectations. It has become an important part of China’s high-level opening up to the outside world.

This year, the international business environment as a whole is facing serious challenges. The CIIE, like a flag of free trade flying in the wind, will strengthen the resolve and confidence of the international community to overcome difficulties together. For exhibitors from various countries, they can focus on business and seek more cooperation opportunities in the vast Chinese market through the CIIE platform. In all respects, it is a major advantage that China’s development and opening up has created for the world.

Compared to previous years, the biggest feature of this year’s CIIE is that it is held shortly after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The great attention from the outside world and the rich interpretations of the 20th CPC National Congress will naturally extend to the CIIE. For some time now, American and Western public opinion has tried to label China as “closed” and “decoupled from the world”, trying to find clues to create an atmosphere of “foreign companies fleeing China” from time to time. The CIIE will loudly tell the world that such a misleading narrative is futile and their concern is unnecessary. China’s door will not be closed, but opened wider.

According to statistics, a total of 145 countries, regions and international organizations will participate in the CIIE this year. The number has surpassed the previous one with a more optimized structure and stronger representation. It is worth mentioning that more than 280 Fortune 500 companies and industry-leading companies are participating in the expo, with a “return rate” of nearly 90%, and many companies have signed contracts for the sixth CIIE. The facts speak for themselves. These figures are sufficient to dispel all suspicion. If they did not take advantage of it, if they did not have the confidence and expectation of the Chinese market, could these multinationals have attended the CIIE several times? The cumulative amount of planned transactions of the previous four CIIEs exceeded $270 billion, and it will continue to grow this year and in the future.

In particular, Washington complained about the trade deficit with China, but it prevented American companies from expanding their markets in China and even threatened them. This is inappropriate. In recent years, the American authorities themselves have adopted a narrow mind. Meanwhile, some anti-China politicians have often, in a high-profile manner, maliciously harassed foreign companies that have close ties to the Chinese market, trying to drive them out of China. Most of the pressures multinationals are currently under stem from geopolitical uncertainty, and Washington’s almost frantic “fault finding” is the No. 1 destabilizing factor.

This year is already the fifth of the CIIE. The first CIIE was held in 2018 and the timing is worth remembering. At that time, the Trump administration was mobilizing a trade war with China, which made many people extremely pessimistic about China’s prospects and believed that China would be toppled forever. The result, however, is that even Americans admit that the trade war “did nothing” but rather “succeeded in exhausting America again.” However, the CIIE has taken root and yielded fruitful results, and even the COVID-19 pandemic has not shaken it. It turns out that the market is ultimately stronger than Washington’s political manipulation.

The world today faces more challenges than in 2018, with divisions and confrontations moving from “crazy ideas” to real risks. This is something that most people did not expect. However, the more complex and difficult the situation, the more countries need to connect and cooperate. The unique charm of the CIIE is precisely that it has become not only a simple exhibition of imported products, but also a “window” that promotes global openness and cooperation, mutual benefits and win-win results. He injected “running water” into companies suffering from the geopolitical confrontation and brought “a clear spring” to the recovery and development of the global economy. At the same time, the CIIE makes free exhibition stands available to SMEs in least developed countries every year. It is a vivid manifestation of China’s development for the benefit of the world, and it is also the essence of building a human community with a shared future. As long as China’s economy remains prosperous, more people around the world will share the dividends, which will continue to inject strong momentum into promoting inclusive and sustainable global development. As the development of human society faces the risk of division and confrontation, the bustling scene of visitors from all over the world gathered at the CIIE is of extraordinary significance. It is not only an important source of confidence in China’s opening up, but also the hope for a righteous path in the world. We will hold CIIEs one after another, and the accumulated positive energy will bring greater surprises to the world.

Sharon D. Cole