China International Import Expo promotes global trade, multilateralism: ITC chief

2019/11/07 Innoverview Read

The China International Import Expo (CIIE) is just another token that China is taking its responsibility in global economy, trade and multilateralism, Arancha Gonzalez, executive director of the International Trade Center (ITC), has said.

The CIIE, which was first held in Shanghai in 2018, serves to offer businesses around the world opportunities to enter the Chinese market. Its second edition, which opened Tuesday here, runs through Sunday.

In terms of promoting global trade and multilateralism, Gonzalez told Xinhua in a recent interview that the CIIE demonstrates that China takes the responsibility "that creates a space for others to access its market."

This opportunity for market access offered by China is defined not only by its volume of thousands of millions of consumers, but also by their purchasing power, said the head of the ITC -- a major provider of technical assistance regarding trade in the United Nations system.

"There is no multilateralism to be possible if China doesn't play an active role in that process, not only in its construction but also in its reform. China is an essential factor in commercial multiculturalism, in countering climate change and in any dimension of multilateralism," she noted.

Gonzalez said multilateralism in the 21st century is expanding and it requires new agents, such as China.

"Multilateralism is mutating right now. In the past, there were parties, such as the United States and the European Union (EU), grouping around a table who made certain commitments among them. But in the 21st century it is a multi-polar world and multilateralism is a must. There should be a redistribution of responsibilities that only a few had held before," she said.

In her opinion, today "we can't solve the problems on the planet without an active international cooperation."

"Technological revolution, geopolitics, environment, all of these topics need stronger international cooperation and it is important to understand why China should become an active agent," she added.

From her point of view, the CIIE serves as an important platform for South-South trade as well.

"In the 20th century, 70 percent of trade was done between the developed nations (North), 20 percent between the Global North and South, and only 10 percent between the developing countries (South). That's where the CIIE is very important," she said.

"Because it is not only a magnet for North American and European companies but for many businesses from developing countries," she added.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have an important place in the CIIE. Gonzalez said her agency has provided help for businesses from 25 developing countries to facilitate their participation.

"We kept contacts with the Chinese authorities so that there would be places for SMEs in the CIIE," she said.

She added, "The CIIE is a help to the SMEs" also in the sense of their improving competitiveness through upgrading product quality, packaging or digitization.

"The strongest are the ones who can remain in this market," Gonzalez said.

"It (competitiveness) could be translated into better wages, better prices and working conditions plus an extra contribution to the economic growth in countries," she added.

The ITC chief noted that for the CIIE participants, the service sector could also be interesting, as "the CIIE doesn't present only products, it also means business opportunities in education, health, tourism, and language learning services."

She voiced hope that the CIIE will be "bigger and deeper, to have more participants and get more business deals made; and be also greener, to show sustainability."

"It has to be a place where sustainable trade is promoted," she stressed.

In the interview, she also praised the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which she said "makes trade possible, facilitates commerce, creates soft and hard infrastructure, and offers access to investment and innovation."

(Copyright : CIIE