Editorial : China International Import Expo

【明報專訊】THE first China International Import Expo opened on 5th November. This is the world's first largest import expo. Not only is there trading of goods and services, but there is also an exhibition of the investment environments of participating countries. Furthermore, as the expo will be attended by the heads of many countries, it will be another grand diplomatic event that China plays host to. The idea of organising the expo originated in May last year. In other words, it is not a countermeasure against the trade war, but is rather an attempt to showcase the fact that China's strategy of pursuing further reform and opening up will change the world trade order. Whether the choice of Shanghai for the expo signifies the shift of focus in China's future economic development also provides food for thought.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. How to deepen the reform and opening up requires not only verbal promises but also real action. According to figures of the country's total imports and exports, China exported goods worth 15.33 trillion yuan last year, while the imports amounted to 12.46 trillion yuan. In other words, there was a trade surplus of nearly 3 trillion yuan. However, exports rose by 10.8%, and imports, by 20.9%. So the trade surplus shrunk by 14.2%. If that trend continues, perhaps one day China will achieve trade balance or even have a larger amount of imports than exports. China's assertion that it is not pursuing trade surpluses to earn foreign exchanges will become a fact.

Over the past 40 years, China has embarked on a road of gradual transformation. It first relied on the export of low-grade goods and natural resources, before it started to import technological semi-finished products and package and process them. It then began to export huge technological products. Through the export of goods it gained experience in foreign trade, enhanced the quality of its products and management, and earned foreign exchanges for the country. It has become the country with the world's biggest reserves of foreign exchanges, with the country, enterprises and the people having money to spare. This has caused the rapid expansion of the market, so much so the Chinese market is now "too big to fail". While in the past it was all about "selling, selling and selling", it is now about "buying, buying and buying" as well even when it is exporting. The Import Expo has come about against such a backdrop.

Our country has chosen Shanghai as the city to host the Import Expo. This is related to the huge market of the Yangtze River Delta. However, it is thought-provoking whether the focus of the country's economic development will shift to Eastern China. The Greater Bay Area encompassing Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao is in an initial stage, and there is a lot of babbling about in what areas Guangdong and Hong Kong can be the leader. These regions should immediately investigate why Shanghai is the leader of the Yangtze River Delta, and how time and geographical or human factors were behind that. It is necessary to mitigate the conflicts between Guangdong and Hong Kong and make good use of the advantages. We cannot let our spirits sink because of jealousy of others' success. We ought to have the courage and confidence to march forward towards the goal of coordinated economic development of the Greater Bay Area and prosperity as a whole.

明報社評2018.11.05:劃時代進口博覽會 改變國際國內格局



中國在過去40年,初而依靠出口低級產品和天然資源,轉變到進口科技半製成品進行裝配加工,再出口大型科技產品,逐步轉型。出口積累了對外貿易的經驗,從中改善產品質量以及改進了管理的水平,同時也為國家賺取外匯資本,成為世界第一大外匯儲備國,國家、企業和老百姓都有餘錢,造就了市場的快速擴大,而今中國市場已經到了「大到不能倒」(too big to fail)的地步,是時候由過去單純的「賣賣賣」,轉變到在出口的同時,也要「買買買」,進口博覽會的出現,由此應運而生。



to spare : if you have time, money, etc. to spare, you have more than you need

come about : to happen, or start to happen

thought-provoking : making people think seriously about a particular subject or issue

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