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China International Expo and its lessons for Pakistan

By Abdul Wajid Khan,

The successfully concluded first China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2018 in Shanghai last week has achieved great significance and attraction from all around the globe and it has produced tangible and positive outcomes for not only participating countries and world economy. According to the information released by the CIIE Bureau, the expo ended with the value of intended deals of more than $57.8 billion. It includes the intended transactions of high-end intelligent equipment, consumer electronics and appliances, automobile, apparel, accessories and consumer goods, food and agricultural products, medical equipment and healthcare products and services trade. While the total value of intended deals with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative remained at about $4.7 billion.
A total of 3,617 companies from 151 countries and regions showcased their products at the expo. Initial statistics show that at least 570 new products, technologies or service items were first released in the Chinese mainland or in the world.
The expo provided a display space of 300,000 square meters, accommodating around 400,000 merchants from China and abroad.
The expo also drawn much attention from domestic and international media as more than 4,100 journalists from 630 news organizations at home and abroad had registered and reported about the event.
The first China International Import Expo is one of the most important events of this year and it has taken the China’s reforms and opening up into new level.
Chinese government and its relevant departments rendered great efforts and made impressive arrangements to make this event more successful and result-oriented as it hosted large number of local and foreign companies and guests for more than six days.
The Expo held at a very critical time when at international level unilateralism and protectionism is on rise and anti-globalization forces are active to achieve their vested interests.
Participation of large number of companies and traders from around the world will put very positive impacts on world economy and the successful continuation of this event will be helpful in ending uncertainty and produce stability in international economic system.
It shows their commitment and believe on multilateralism and promotion free trade system in the world. It also reflects the confidence of the world on Chinese efforts in promotion of multilateralism and free trade system. The experts believed that expo will be helpful in countering unilateralism at global level and will promote multiallelism and free trade for the benefits and win-win results for all participants.
The expo has also presented a strong message for the greater need of inclusive growth in which the dream of common development of all nations could be realized.
Currently Chinese economy is undergoing through important changes as China has decided in the beginning of this year to make a paradigm shift from quantity-oriented economic growth to quality-oriented economic growth. China is taking steps to raise local consumption and now it is also now focusing on production of high quality, high-tech products and high intelligent products.
Now China is ready to welcome more foreign products in its market and further widening its market to increase imports.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his keynote speech in the opening ceremony of the expo announced that China’s imported goods and services were estimated to exceed 30 trillion U.S. dollars and 10 trillion U.S. dollars, respectively, in the next 15 years.
He also reiterated that China will stimulate the potential for increased imports, continue to broaden market access, foster a world-class business environment, explore new horizons of opening up, and promote international cooperation at multilateral and bilateral levels. In the expo, countries around the world were presenting their best potential to grab the benefits and to raise their exports.
Prime Minister Imran Khan attended CIIE as guest of honour.
Pakistan established it pavilion under the theme of ‘Emerging Pakistan’. President Xi Jinping, Prime Minster Imran Khan and government officials and large number of people from China and abroad visited Pakistan Pavilion and showed their interest in Pavilion.
Pakistan pavilion under the of ‘Emerging Pakistan’ showcased its trade potential in the areas of agriculture, food, textile, sports, surgical instruments, cutlery industry, tourism and others. It also highlighted significance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is the flagship project of China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative, and its benefits for Pakistan, China and entire region.
Unfortunately, this year, very limited Pakistan’s business companies managed to register for the event which shows that efforts are needed to bridge the gap among traders of both countries. The expo was presenting a great opportunity for the traders to get access not only to the Chinese market but also to interact with the business community from around the world.
Pakistan is currently facing trade imbalance and it direly need to increase its exports to fix trade imbalance and only export oriented-growth can strengthen its economy.
Pakistan needs steps for increasing its export to China as it is providing more space for imports. China has already entered into the next stage of digitalization and now here much focus is being paid on modern and advanced technology like artificial intelligence and others. Pakistan should diversify its products line, trained human resource and achieve modern technology to become competitive in local and international market.
China’s market is becoming more modern and competitive and high quality and modern products can get good response here.
-The author is a researcher and journalist working for Independent News Pakistan.

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