In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the third China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Wednesday, President Xi Jinping announced new measures for expanding all-round opening-up. As Xi said, China will nurture new pacesetters of opening-up, pursue creative ways to expand foreign trade, keep improving its business environment, and deepen bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation. In fact, all these aspects are evident in China holding the import expo despite all odds.
Compared with the second CIIE, this year's expo has improved a lot in many aspects. To begin with, the exhibition area has been expanded to 360,000 square meters, with the addition of four special exhibition zones: public health and epidemic prevention, energy conservation and environmental protection, intelligent transport, and sports items.
Also, more industry-leading enterprises are taking part in the CIIE this year, including about 50 of the Fortune 500 enterprises participating for the first time. In fact, 90 percent of the pharmaceutical companies on the Fortune 500 list are participating in the ongoing expo. And the hundreds of new products, new services and new technologies making their debut at the third CIIE will facilitate consumption upgrading, which will help meet Chinese consumers' rising demand for such products and services, as well as promote the development of global and domestic enterprises.
Besides, thanks to the overall impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the continuing prevention and control measures, this year's Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum will be held both online and offline to enable scholars, politicians and entrepreneurs from all over the world to discuss how to strengthen global economic and trade cooperation in these trying times.
The third CIIE is of great significance to not only China but also the world. The pandemic forced the suspension of economic and social activities in China in the early months of this year, causing the country's GDP to shrink by 6.8 percent in the first quarter and compelling the organizers to hold the 2020 Spring and Autumn Canton Fair online.
That China is holding this year's CIIE on schedule demonstrates the success of its prevention and control measures, especially because the pandemic is still raging in many parts of the world. Till Nov 4, there were more than 47 million COVID-19 cases and 1.2 million deaths globally. Yet the CIIE opened on time because, thanks to its strict prevention and control measures, China managed to contain the virus at home after the third month. The fact that China is now confident of controlling the imported cases, too, also shows the effectiveness of its anti-epidemic measures.
The organizers of the third CIIE have taken multiple measures to ensure the full safety of the participants and to protect them from contracting the virus. For example, to handle medical emergencies, the expo organizers have set up five on-spot medical stations with 12 ambulances and about 400 medical personnel.
That about 112,000 organizations and 400,000 participants have registered to attend the event shows their confidence in China's effective anti-pandemic measures. And it is hoped the CIIE will help boost the recovery of the global economy, which has been badly battered by the pandemic.
The International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the World Bank have forecast that the global economy will contract by 4.4 percent, 3.2 percent and 5.2 percent respectively this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the World Trade Organization saying global trade will likely shrink by 12.9-31.9 percent.
By contrast, China's economy achieved a V-shape recovery in the second quarter after having contracted by 6.8 percent in the first. The Chinese economy grew by 3.2 percent in the second quarter and 4.9 percent in the third, and according to the World Bank, China will be the only major economy to register positive growth this year－by 1.6 percent.
Moreover, China's exports have registered positive growth for six consecutive months since March, though imports have been fluctuating in recent months. But the CIIE is expected to help China stabilize its imports and improve its "internal circulation" (domestic economy) while accelerating the recovery of the global supply chain, which is critical to boosting global economic recovery.
That China is holding the third import expo under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the country's sincerity in deepening bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation. It also shows that despite facing an unprecedented crisis, China is willing to join hands with the rest of the world to overcome the difficulties and create a brighter future for all.