By Guo Jiping
The world is facing profound changes unseen in a century, and the changes are accelerating this year, the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century.
The global spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the headwinds against economic globalization, the fight between multilateralism and unilateralism, as well as the confrontation between justice and hegemony have once again placed the human society at a crossroad of history.
The world needs to reach a consensus to conform to the trend of the times featuring peace, development, and win-win cooperation, and build an open world economy.
After the 127th China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) was held online from June 15 to 24, the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) kicked off in Beijing on September 4. The 3rd China International Import Expo will also be hosted in November in Shanghai as scheduled. These comprehensive and all-round events of opening-up have provided the international society with communication platforms that are in dire need at the moment.
China’s development will enter a new stage in the next five years, said Chinese President Xi Jinping at a recent symposium on economic and social work.
He stressed the importance to remain sensitive to changes, respond to them with well-judged actions, and be ready to adjust the approach when necessary. He urged the country to be brave enough to sail against the wind and be good at turning crises into opportunities.
His remarks signaled to the world a clear message – no matter how the international situation evolves, stimulating domestic demand and deepening opening-up have always been an indispensable driving force for China’s development; integrating the country’s and the world’s interests, China is always a constructor of world peace, a contributor to global development and a guardian of global order.
As the world’s largest comprehensive exposition specializing in trade in services, the CIFTIS had held six sessions. But the session this year bears a special significance.
The pandemic has pressed the pause button for major exhibitions and other international cooperation projects, but the international community’s demand for exchanges, cooperation and development remains the same.
The world needs more than ever a guiding force that enables countries to break barriers and strengthen communication.
To ensure a successful CIFTIS both online and offline, China has made tremendous preparatory efforts. The grand event will surely further open the Chinese market to global investors and deepen international cooperation.
In the face of the world’s dramatic changes, China will not isolate itself from other countries, advocate beggar-thy-neighbor policies, or pursue its own benefits without lending a hand to other countries.
It has scrapped the limitations on the ratio of foreign shareholding in securities and fund management firms, expanded the scope of business and market access for foreign banks, and promoted the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port.
A series of new measures on opening-up have been implemented in the country and a sound pattern is gradually taking shape where reform and opening-up promote and complement each other.
Xi pointed out that despite the rise of protectionism in the world, China will stand on the right side of history and uphold multilateralism and democracy in international relations. China will continue to pursue development through openness and win-win cooperation, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, so as to build an open world economy.
China is striving to maintain the stability of the global industrial and supply chains, assisting other countries in combating the epidemic and in economic recovery.
During the first half of the year, China-Europe freight trains saw a significant year-on-year increase in the number of freight train trips and volume of goods despite the pandemic, sending a total of 3.67 million items of anti-epidemic supplies weighing 27,000 tonnes.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) had expanded its funds under the COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility to $13 billion, and already provided $5.9 billion for 12 countries by the end of July.
Amid the crisis, China put forward a new development pattern, which takes the domestic market as the mainstay and allows the domestic and foreign markets to boost each other.
The new development pattern is targeted at higher quality of development and a higher level of opening-up. It indicates that China aims to pursue development with its door wide open and share its advantage of a huge domestic market and domestic demand potential with the world.
Looking back, China embarked on the road of reform and opening-up when it was going through a tough time. Since then, it has kept advancing on the road and created a development miracle that makes a huge difference in human history.
No matter how many obstacles and difficulties it may encounter in the future, the country is convinced that reform and opening-up is the secret to a brighter future.
While determining to deepen reform and open wider up, China will surely establish closer relations with the world. It will also join hands with other countries and write a splendid chapter of openness and cooperation, as well as mutual benefit.
(Guo Jiping is a well-known pen name used for People’s Daily editorials meant to outline China’s stance and viewpoints on major international issues.)