Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has delivered a keynote speech during the opening of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. During his speech Imran Khan sated,
“As the Belt and Road initiative gives shape to a global community of shared interests, this Expo will help spread dividends of freer trade amongst more closely integrated economies. In Pakistan, the Karakoram Highway merges into a network of highways that are part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). These take you to the deep seaport of Gwadar – the point where the belt and road converge and this impacts not only Pakistan but has an impact on all of the economies of the entire region.
CPEC shall cut distances and costs bringing much needed resources to producers and new products to consumers. CPEC is a mechanism to forge even closer connectivity between the Middle East and China and between central and south Asia. It is opening up fresh investment avenues – new vistas. My party Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI campaigned during the last election for change and now since we’ve been in power we are initiating deep and meaningful reforms impacting all sectors and every aspect of governance. We are committed to improving our frameworks of transparency and accountability, leveraging technology for seamless smart solutions of business and governance.
We in Pakistan are blessed with an abundant array of resources ranging from minerals to fertile land, to a wealth of renewables and the most diverse landscape with 12 climatic zones. Pakistan is already producing high end textiles, spots goods, engineering goods, IT services and medical technologies including surgical instruments. But by far our greatest and most promising resource is human. We have one hundred million Pakistanis below the age of 35 – a young vibrant population. And the Naya or New Pakistan will be more a more conducive and a more competitive place for transacting business.
At a time when the international trade system is under attack – when unilateral commercial benefits are being sought aggressively by some – when protectionism is on the rise, we take great comfort in President Xi’s courageous statement and I quote ‘The doors of China’s opening up will never shut but will only open ever wider”.
While the Pakistani Prime Minister did not name a particular nation or leader when criticising unilateral protectionism, it was clear that the target of Imran’s rhetoric was the United States which is currently exercising reactionary protectionist policies that are out of step with broader global trends of economic, human and cultural connectivity.
By presenting an argument in favour of the manifold advantages of the Belt and Road initiative from a Pakistani perspective while also embracing the Chinese attitude toward economic openness, Imran Khan has clearly set the tone for his government as one that rejects the crony economics of the past while equally rejecting a retreat behind the walls of dysfunctional economic nationalism.
The CIIE gives Pakistani producers an opportunity to demonstrate their goods before thousands of Chinese businessmen and consumers while also offering the wider world a showcase of what modern Pakistan is capable of producing. As Pakistan is currently looking for further investment to both plug a current account deficit inherited from the previous government while simultaneously looking to build sustainable economic partnerships for a better future, CIIE gives Pakistan a golden opportunity to recruit new organisations and individuals into the movement to build Naya Pakistan.
Below is Eurasia Future’s full report on the CIIE
Chinese officials have inaugurated the first ever China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. Offering a unique showcase to manufacturers, innovators and agricultural producers from across the world, this week’s event in Shanghai has attracted companies from around the world who seek to introduce their goods to buyers from the world’s largest market in terms of PPP (purchasing power parity) – the Chinese domestic base. As China continues working to build a moderately prosperous society, individual Chinese consumers, businessmen and domestic companies are looking to diversify their scope of purchases with a keen eye on imports across multiple sectors. This domestic phenomenon has corresponded with China’s embrace of two-track economic openness where free trade across multinational lines looks to become the guiding principle of respectful mutilateralism in an age of ever increasing global connectivity.
In spite of ongoing tensions over trade which have resulted from Donald Trump’s unilateral policies of protectionism, American corporations who continue to resist building economic boundaries between nations are enthusiastically participating in the conference. In addition to multiple medium sized and start-up companies from the US, corporate giants including General Motors, General Electric, Dupont, Qualcomm and Johnson & Johnson are active participants in the conference.
Additionally, 58 Belt and Road partners will be showcasing their national inventory at the expo that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to attend as part of his five day visit to China. Companies from across the European Union are also participating in the conference as are producers from nations as diverse as Russia, South Africa, Britain, Malaysia, Cuba, Zambia, Ethiopia, Iran, Brazil, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Korea, Japan, Canada, The Philippines, Cambodia, the United States, Egypt and scores of others. In total, over 50 nations will be represented at the expo.
Overall, 2,800 companies from around the world are exhibiting in Shanghai. Furthermore, due to the diverse nature of the exposition, goods from both highly developed and developing nations will be displayed side by side, thus offering Chinese and international buyers an opportunity to assess the economic strengths and development characteristics of multiple nations in a streamlined and user friendly fashion.
The event itself divides groups of exhibitors into the following macro-categories with corresponding subcategories:
High-end Intelligent Equipment
Artificial Intelligence, Industrial Automation & Robots, Digital Factories, IoT, Materials Processing & Molding Equipment, Industrial Parts & Components, ICT Equipment, Energy Conservation & Environmental Protection Equipment, New Energy, Power & Electrical Equipment, Aviation & Aero-space Technologies and Equipment, Power Transmission & Control Technologies, 3D Printing, etc.
Consumer Electronics & Appliances
Mobile Devices, Smart Home, Smart Household Appliances, VR & AR, Video Games, Sports & Fit-ness, Audio, Video HD Devices, Life Technologies, Display Technologies, Online Games & Home Entertainments, Product & System Solutions, etc.
Intelligent Drive Vehicles and Technologies, Intelligent Connected Vehicles and Technologies, New Energy Vehicles and Technologies, Brand Automobiles, etc.
Apparel, Accessories &Consumer Goods
Apparel, Textiles, Silk Products, Kitchenware & Tableware, Homeware, Gifts, Home Decorations, Festival Products, Jewelry & Ornaments, Furniture, Infant & Children Products, Toys, Culture Prod-ucts, Skincare, Hair Beauty & Personal Care Products, Sports & Leisure, Suitcases & Bags, Foot-wear & Accessories, Clocks & Watches, Ceramic & Glass Products, etc.
Food & Agricultural Products
Dairy, Meat, Seafood, Vegetable & Fruit, Tea & Coffee, Beverage & Liquor, Sweet & Snacks, Health Products, Condiment, Canned & Instant Food, etc.
Medical Equipment & Medical Care Products
Medical Imaging Equipment, Surgical Equipment & Devices, IVD, Rehabilitation & Physical Thera-py Products, High Value Medical Disposables, Mobile Health & AI, Beauty care & cosmetic surgery, Nutrition & Supplements, Advanced Health Examination, Welfare & Elderly Care Products and Ser-vices, etc.
Apart from manufactured goods and agricultural products, the expo will also feature an array of exhibitors from international service sectors. These will be divided in the following way:
Featured Scenic Spots, Travel Routes & Products, Travel Agencies, Cruise Ships & Airlines, Award Tours, Online Travel Services, etc.
Information Technology, Energy Conservation, Environmental Protection, Biotechnology, Scientific Research Institutions, Intellectual Property, etc.
Culture & Education
Culture, Education, Publications, Education & Training, Overseas Education Institutions & Universi-ties, etc.
Artistic Design, Industrial Design, Design Software, etc.
Information Technology Outsourcing, Business Process Outsourcing, Knowledge Process Outsourcing, etc.
As China is now both a major producer and importer of goods, the expo helps to show rather than tell in respect of the win-win import/export partnerships that China seeks to expand throughout the world. As the power of technology looks to revolutionise medical science, business, education and entertainment while new methods of food distribution and modern trends in agricultural growth look to make hunger a thing of the past, the expo stands as a signpost of a world embracing a spirit of opportunity and optimism as the essence of the Chinese Dream helps to inspire innovative individuals from throughout the world.
Finally, as the meeting comes just under a month prior to a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Argentina, it will be helpful for American business representatives to relay their first hand experiences in Shanghai to policy makers in North America so that leaders in Washington can better understand that China’s immense internal market presents producers and manufacturers from throughout the world a golden opportunity to positively engage with a dynamic and increasingly affluent customer base.
According to China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Bingnan,
“Through the expo, we hope to provide a channel for exporters to China, and build a platform for commercial cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises”.
It is this spirit of interactivity through commerce that can help to create a more prosperous and culturally harmonious world so that the 21st century’s geopolitical relations can be based on people-centred initiatives rather than hegemonic conflicts and human strife. As multiple nations look to secure long term development goals and growth opportunities, exposure to modern China in a spirit of openness can help to elevate the condition of working people and innovative minds from throughout the world. In this sense, the opportunities implicit in the expo represent a golden win-win development for all of the participating nations and people.