China’s achievements of opening up in statistics

By Wang Ke, Ouyang Jie, and Yu Jingxian from People’s Daily

Over the past 40 years, China has pursued the fundamental policy of opening up, starting a great journey in which it achieved common progress with the world.

To better embrace the future, China will further open up its market, expand import, and make the China International Import Expo (CIIE), the world’s first import-themed national exhibition into a success.

Statistics 1: China’s annual import value rose an yearly average of 18.1 percent from 18.7 billion yuan ($ 2.7 billion) to 12.5 trillion yuan during the 40 years of reform and opening up.

The first CIIE will be participated by over 3,600 enterprises, including more than 200 Fortune 500 companies and many industry leaders. More than 100 new products and technologies will debut at the event.

To expand import is a long-term policy that China adheres to. Especially after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the policy has been made more explicit and helped China achieved remarkable results.

From 1978 to 2017, China’s annual import value rose an yearly average of 18.1 percent from 18.7 billion yuan to 12.5 trillion yuan. From 1982 to 2017, China’s import of services expanded 230 times with an average annual growth of 16.8 percent.

China imported a total of $1.84 trillion worth of goods in 2017, 6.2 times of those in 2002, the first year after its accession to the WTO. Its services import and deficits were respectively $467.6 billion and $239.5 billion, 10.1 and 798.3 times of those in 2002.

So far, China has grown into the world’s second largest importer of commodities and second largest importer of services, with its import of commodities and services accounting for around 10 percent of the global total.

Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce’s International Market Research Institute believes that well-structured import in a moderate scale will place positive effects on the improvement of China’s domestic production factors supply.

The expansion of import is a proactive move to meet people’s aspiration toward a better life, said Zhao Ping, director of the international trade research department under the Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

She introduced that the overseas consumption of Chinese people was growing at a double-digit pace annually in the last decade.

To expand consumption of high-quality products and service import will enrich consumption choices, promote the backflow of overseas consumption, optimize consumption structure, accelerate consumption upgrading, and satisfy people’s personalized, diversified and differentiated consumption demands, Zhao remarked.

Statistics 2: China’s growth of imports was 5.3 percentage points higher than the global average, which offered broad market and valuable opportunities of cooperation for global enterprises.

An employee of the Australian health supplements company Blackmores told People’s Daily that the CIIE is of profound significance for the company, calling the event a powerful move of China to support free trade and expand opening up.

The CIIE would serve as a valuable platform for Blackmores to promote its brand and products in the Chinese market, the employee added. The sales volume of the company hit 143 million Australian dollars in the last fiscal year, up 22 percent from a year ago.

China was the fastest-growing import market among major importers of the world in 2017. Its growth of import was respectively 8.9, 5.5 and 5.4 percentage points higher than that of the US, Germany, and Japan, and also 5.3 percentage points higher than the world average. The country offered broad market and valuable opportunities of cooperation for global enterprises.

Wang Bingnan, Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Commerce noted that the CIIE is a platform where every country can negotiate major issues of economy and trade and seek for common development, so as to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.

Statistics 3: China’s overall tariff level has been lowered to 7.5 percent after rounds of adjustment.

Since November 1, China further lowered tariff rates on 1,585 taxable items including stones, ceramics and machinery. The country’s overall tariff level has been lowered to 7.5 percent after rounds of adjustment.

Through a series of pragmatic measures, China showcased its firm conviction to take the initiative to expand import and further open up.

Thanks to the improvement of business environment of the ports and the facilitation of cross-border trade, the overall customs clearance time for cargo will be further reduced by 1/3, from 97.39 hours in 2017 to 65 hours before the end of this year. Furthermore, the time will be reduced to 48 hours by the end of 2021, almost half of that in 2017. In addition, departments such as China’s General Administration of Customs have also tailored many measures of facilitation for the CIIE.

Wang said the CIIE is an announcement of China to implement a new round of opening up policies. China will steadfastly open wider to the outside world more vigorously at a higher level, to promote its own development, as well as the world’s common development, and create more opportunities for other countries to share its development dividends.

Photo taken on Nov. 3, 2018 shows the night view of Shanghai, east China. The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) will be held on Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai. (Xinhua/Li He)