（Written by Xu Junhao / Translated by Mo Tingting）In early March 2021, China held the highly anticipated “two sessions (NPC & CPPCC)”. In the first year of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), how will the next “China Train” speed up running? On this year’s two sessions, it is conveyed that opening-up will remain as an important driver for China’s future development. Under this backdrop, CAEXPO, an important platform for opening-up and cooperation mainly towards ASEAN and countries along the Belt and Road, will continue to play the role of a “booster”.
China’s two sessions sending a strong signal to further high-level opening-up
On March 5, 2021, at the Fourth Session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), Premier Li Keqiang delivered a government work report which indicated that we should pursue high-level opening-up, promote stable and high-quality foreign trade and investment, open wider and deeper to the outside world, and better participate in international economic cooperation.
China is committed to opening wider to the outside world. China’s share of foreign investment in the world has not exceeded 10% before, but may reach 19% by 2020. “China became the world’s largest importer of foreign investment in 2020, with a growth of US$ 144.4 billion. In 2021, China will further step up its efforts to attract investment, open wider in an all-round way and create a sound environment,” said Wang Wentao, China’s Minister of Commerce, in an interview on the two sessions.
Persisting in opening to the outside world is one of the basic experiences of China’s economic success. Participating in the international economic cycle is as important now as in the past. Meanwhile, the outline for the 14th Five-Year Plan and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, which was reviewed and adopted at the Fourth Session of the 13th NPC, also calls for accelerating the construction of the dual circulation development pattern, in which domestic and international development reinforcing each other.
At the Fourth Session of the 13th NPC, Mr. Zhang Yesui pointed out that the construction of the new development pattern is by no means a single closed domestic circulation, but an open and mutually reinforcing domestic and international dual circulation. It is to make the domestic market better connect with the international market by leveraging the potential of domestic demand, to attract global resource elements through the domestic circulation, and make better use of both domestic and international markets and resources. Under the new development pattern of “dual circulation”, China will increase its institutional opening-up, continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and continue to create a market-oriented, legalized, and internationalized business environment, so as to achieve mutual benefit and common development with other countries.
Build an upgraded version of CAEXPO to serve China’s further opening-up
Under the new development pattern of wider opening-up and mutually reinforcing domestic and international circulations, platforms bearing the mission of promoting opening-up and cooperation are expected to play a greater role. In particular, in this year’s government work report, Premier Li Keqiang put forward the implementation of high-level opening-up. It includes four aspects, namely, promoting the steady development of import and export, actively and effectively utilizing foreign investment, building high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and deepening multilateral, bilateral and regional economic cooperation. Among them, “E-commerce”, “free trade pilot zone”, “high quality” and other keywords stand out. And these are also the focus of the CAEXPO in serving China’s opening-up.
The Nabati Wafer from Indonesia worthing RMB 60,000 yuan was sold in just 10 minutes through the “online CAEXPO”. Online CAEXPO was an innovation for the 17th CAEXPO to deal with the impact of the epidemic and promote China-ASEAN digital economy cooperation, attracting more than 1,900 enterprises to participate in the exhibition. By tapping the potential of the cross-border E-commerce cooperation through the “online CAEXPO”, the 17th CAEXPO has effectively yielded practical results from economic and trade cooperation and injected impetus into the bilateral trade.
Investment cooperation has always been a focus of the CAEXPO. A series of investment promotion activities, such as industrial park investment promotion conference, investment cooperation round table, investment and financing project matchmaking meeting, were held in previous sessions of the CAEXPO. Investment cooperation is promoted practically through project promotion, contact and matchmaking. To make better service, the 17th CAEXPO for the first time established an exhibition hall for China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone (CFTZ), publicized its achievements, institutional innovation and industrial development opportunities, invited global business to invest in the CFTZ, and shared dividends and development opportunities of Guangxi.
Since the Belt and Road Initiative was put forward, the CAEXPO has proactively played its role in the construction of the Belt and Road. Facing the outbreak of the COVID-19, the 17th CAEXPO firstly set up the public health and epidemic prevention exhibition hall, held a series of health cooperation forums, published The Third China-ASEAN Sanitation Collaborative Initiative, China-Indonesia Health Cooperation Execution Plan and other important initiatives, launched the China-ASEAN cross-border health cooperation platform, and other important projects, and serviced the China-ASEAN health cooperation, practically driving the joint construction of the Health Silk Road between China and ASEAN. With the steady construction of the Belt and Road, the CAEXPO will continue to promote the high-quality development of the Belt and Road to make new contributions.
According to Mr. Lan Tianli, the representative of the NPC and the Chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, CAEXPO has acted as a “Nanning Channel” and a platform for opening-up and cooperation between China and ASEAN, and a pragmatic platform for promoting regional economic integration. It has played an important role in the joint construction of the Belt and Road.
CAEXPO serving RCEP to seek advanced development
During China’s two sessions in 2021, an updated version of the CAEXPO has become a hot word. When Chinese Premier Li Keqiang joined the Guangxi delegation in deliberation at the fourth session of the 13th NPC, Guangxi delegation expressed the hope that China would support the building of an upgraded version of the CAEXPO, so as to build Guangxi into a highland of opening-up and cooperation towards ASEAN, and a major hub of reinforcing domestic and international circulations to better serve the Belt and Road.
Since its inception, the CAEXPO has been continuously upgrading with the advancement of China’s opening-up. With the signing of the RCEP and ASEAN becoming China’s largest trading partner, Guangxi is well-positioned to play a bigger role in the construction of the Belt and Road and the development pattern.
Mr. Lan Tianli indicated that during the period of the 14th Five-Year Plan, Guangxi will seize the significant opportunity of the RCEP, deepen economic and trade cooperation in an all-round way with RCEP member states, and promote the upgrading of the CAEXPO, expanding the service scale from “10+1” to RCEP and countries along the Belt and Road. It can be predicted that the upgraded version of the CAEXPO will provide an important impetus in serving China’s opening-up and promoting regional economic integration.
Source: China-ASEAN Panorama