By Chao Xiaoliang
The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) ended in Shanghai on November 10, 2018. Under the theme of “New Era, Shared Future”, the CIIE had attracted 172 countries, regions and international organisations, more than 3,600 companies with a total exhibition area of 30,000 square meters, and more than 40,000 Chinese and foreign buyers who were there to explore business deals. The value of potential deals resulting from the nearly week-long event topped $57.8 billion.
As an innovation in the history of global trade, the CIIE is the world’s first import expo held at the national level. Nowadays, the world economy is going through profound adjustment. Protectionism and unilateralism are resurging. Economic globalisation faces headwinds, and multilateralism and the system of free trade are under threat. Uncertainties and instabilities still abound, and risks and challenges are growing. Under this circumstances, holding CIIE is an important decision made by China to pursue a new round of high-level opening-up, and is China’s major initiative to widen market access to the rest of the world. It demonstrates China’s consistent position of supporting the multilateral trading system and promoting free trade. It is a concrete action by China to advance an open world economy and support economic globalisation.
“All flowers in full blossom make a beautiful spring.” Given the profound shifts in the international economic landscape, people with vision in the world would agree that practices of the law of the jungle and winner-takes-all only represent a dead end. Inclusive growth for all is surely the right way forward. Every country needs to see the underlining trend, explicitly oppose protectionism and unilateralism with greater courage, bolster confidence in our future through opening-up and cooperation, and leverage our respective strengths to pursue inclusive growth in the face of common risks and challenges. Only in this way, can we make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. Thus, people of all countries will be able to share in the benefits of economic globalisation and global growth.
As two developing countries, China and Nigeria are highly complimentary in economy structure and development strategy and face same challenges in many fields. The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Sunday Edet Akpan, led the delegation of the government to attend the CIIE and held Trade and Investment Forum with the theme: “Harnessing Opportunities: Growing The Economy”, while Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry headed seven firms to attend the exhibition and exhibited Nigeria-featured products, such as Adire. Both had plentiful achievements. China is willing to take CIIE as an opportunity to further expand and deepen economic and trade cooperation with Nigeria, make our economies interconnected, so that we could pursue inclusive growth in the face of common risks and challenges.
China is a huge market with a population of over 1.3 billion. In the coming 15 years, China’s import of goods and services are expected to exceed USD 30 trillion and USD 10 trillion respectively. China’s investment abroad will up to 750 billion as well as the number of the outbound tourists will reach 700 million in the next 5 years. All of these present enormous opportunities for countries around the world, including Nigeria. The CIIE will help friends from the world to seize opportunities presented by China’s development in the new era and offer a platform for us to deepen international business cooperation for shared prosperity and progress. The Exhibition Invitation of the 2nd CIIE is going to start in the near future, we would like more and more Nigerian exhibitors to take an active part in it and to make full use of this great platform to showcase more and better Nigerian products and services to China and the world.
*Chao Xiaoliang is Consul General of China in Lagos