Editorial: The 3rd CIIE Reaffirms China’s Commitment to Globalization

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As post-COVID-19 economic recovery starting to hit the headlines around the world, China, one of the world’s biggest consumer market, is reaffirming its commitment to global trade and economy by welcoming foreign businesses to its third China International Import Expo (CIIE) slated to take place in November in Shanghai.

While the COVID-19 outbreak has significantly disrupted the global economy, the Chinese market remains attractive as the country — one of the first major economies to reopen its society — leads the world in recovering from the coronavirus shock.

China’s recovery is “going to look very impressive,” Michael Spencer, Deutsche Bank’s chief economist and head of research for Asia Pacific, told CNBC in a recent interview.

He expects the country to see a five to six percent quarter-on-quarter growth in the second quarter after a contracting first one.

Signs from the industrial and consumer sectors are also demonstrating that the county is regaining momentum.

China’s purchasing managers' index (PMI) for both the manufacturing sector and the non-manufacturing sector stood above the boom-bust line of 50 in May, showcasing an expansion in factory and service activities.

The retail industry — e-commerce sector, especially — is expecting a boost in sales as a mid-year online shopping event launched across platforms. More than 37,000 Chinese brands on China’s major e-commerce platform, Tmall.com, are seeing their sales volume double from last year on the first day of the shopping festival, which will last until late June, according to Xinhua.

In early March, 23 government departments jointly issued a guideline for boosting consumption and unleashing the domestic market’s potential. It detailed 19 measures to remove institutional barriers for consumption growth and revive pent-up demands due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Local Chinese governments went further to boost consumption in recent weeks, partnering up with businesses to launch voucher campaigns, encouraging residents to dine out and shop.

Positive signs and policy supports are making China,which is on its way of becoming the world’s largest consumer market, an appealing market for domestic and foreign businesses alike.

China had more than 21% percent share of the world’s retail market as of 2019, according to US research firm eMarketer.

The company also estimated in its 2019 report that China was to surpass the US and become the world’s largest consumer market in around two years’ time.

And despite the frequently mentioned deglobalization trend that some argue is accelerating as a COVID-19 fallout, China is underlining its firm stance on promoting economic globalization by welcoming overseas companies to this year’s CIIE, which is coming in less than 150 days and is still opening for registrations.

The CIIE, which is entering its third year, is widely considered as an opportunity to gain access to and expand in the Chinese market.

By inviting foreign businesses to its vast domestic market opportunities, China is demonstrating its support to the global economic and trade system, despite voices from some other major economies against it.

For example, the Trump administration had repeatedly shown the tendency towards protectionism, which became more evident when the president considered the controversial “Buy American” executive order that would require federal agencies to purchase domestically made masks, ventilators, and medicines.

Despite his persistence in bringing jobs, manufacturing and investments back to the US, Trump owns a business empire that operates in at least 25 countries around the world, according to a CNN report.

His daughter, Ivanka Trump, won four trademarks in China, where some of her products were manufactured, in 2019.

China is encouraging all interested businesses, domestic and abroad, to share the opportunities in its fast-recovering post-COVID-19 economy.

Attracted to this year’s CIIE are big names from various industries, including Japan-based cloth giant Uniqlo, healthcare leader Abbott, high-end cosmetic producer Estée Lauder Companies, and American multinational conglomerate General Electric.

According to organizers, more than 90 percent of the planned exhibition area has been booked as of last week, with over 1,400 companies signed up.

The third CIIE is set to take place in Shanghai from Nov. 5 to 10.


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