World's first national-level import expo a 'golden gate'

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The fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE), the world's first import-themed national-level expo, is sure to serve as an important window for more countries to enjoy China's development opportunities.

This photo taken on Nov. 2, 2022 shows the south square of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue for the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE), in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday addressed the opening ceremony via video, stressing that China will work with all countries and all parties to share opportunities in the vast Chinese market, from China's institutional opening-up and from deepened international cooperation.

The expo was designed by Xi for the very purpose of expanding China's opening-up and turning China's enormous market into enormous opportunities for the world. This pioneering move in the history of international trade is regarded as a "golden gate" leading to the vast Chinese market.

Since its debut in 2018, the CIIE has become a showcase of China's new development paradigm, a platform for high-standard opening-up, and a public good for the whole world.

At the previous four editions, China introduced a series of measures to further open up, including opening a new section of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, shortening the negative list for foreign investment, and an orderly opening-up of the service sector.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce shows that, from 2018 to 2021, exhibitors at the four previous editions of the CIIE had launched more than 1,500 new products, technologies and services, with a total expected turnover exceeding 270 billion U.S. dollars.

Many participants have grown from "exhibitors" to "investors." Leading biopharmaceutical company Takeda is one such example. The company has been expanding its presence in China in recent years, with nine innovative products having been approved to enter the Chinese market.

Jurgen Unser, president of Audi China, referred to the CIIE as a "perfect platform."

He said the CIIE showcases China's numerous advantages, which include "a huge market, a great business environment, and favorable opening-up policies."

This expo has joined the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) and the China International Fair for Trade in Services in becoming major platforms for China's opening-up.

The world today is confronted with accelerated changes not seen in a long time, as well as sluggish economic recovery. Despite such challenges, the fifth import expo still attracted 145 countries, regions and international organizations, and 284 industry leaders and world top 500 companies.

In the gigantic exhibition hall covering more than 300,000 square meters, the newly established subsections for artificial intelligence and crop seeds display a variety of new exhibits such as robots and crop seedlings. Specialties like coffee from Timor-Leste and Afghan carpets attract visitors to booths that are offered free of charge to the least developed countries.

As a frequenter of the fair, Varian Medical Systems, a leading U.S. company in the field of radiotherapy, has experienced China's progress in opening-up, and become even more determined to be rooted in the market, said Zhang Xiao, Varian vice president and head of its China operations.

Countries, big and small, have benefited from the CIIE in many ways, noted Bei Lei, executive curator of the national pavilion of Timor-Leste at the expo, adding that such moves make them "feel the warmth of China."

China, which has embarked on a new journey to build itself into a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts, will unleash greater potential in the future.

Confident in the abundance of opportunities in China, dozens of foreign companies including Panasonic and Zeiss have taken the lead in signing up for the sixth edition of the CIIE, which is dubbed a "never-ending" expo by industry insiders.  

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