Commentary: China's offline trade fair sets weather vane for post-pandemic global cooperation

Updated: August 13, 2020 Source:
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While trade exchanges and cooperation among countries were hard hit by COVID-19, China, one of the countries taking the lead in the economic recovery, is set to open the first large-scale offline international trade fair in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic, reaffirming its commitment to wider opening up and offering a glance at global trade in the post-pandemic era.

As one of the world's largest comprehensive fairs for trade in services, the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) is scheduled to be held in Beijing in early September and has prepared both online and offline events due to the global pandemic situation. As of last Tuesday, 141 international organizations, embassies in China, commerce associations and institutions were expected to participate in the event, in addition to over 2,000 Chinese and foreign enterprises.

At a time when uncertainties of the pandemic remain an overhang for the recovery of the world economy, organizing such a large-scale trade fair is yet another example of China's capability in controlling the spread of the virus and its resolution of sticking to the opening-up policy in the post-pandemic era.

It is not surprising though that some may question such a stance when global demand slumps due to the impact of COVID-19. When a recent political bureau meeting underscored a new development pattern known as dual circulation, which takes the domestic market as the mainstay while lets domestic and foreign markets boost each other, some misread it as a sign of less interaction with foreign markets.

In fact, together with two other major exhibition platforms for China's opening-up -- China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) and China International Import Expo (CIIE), the CIFTIS speaks for the strategy of the country.

China has deeply integrated itself into globalization. It cannot expand domestic demand without international cooperation and smooth operation of the global value chain. Expanding domestic demand, on the other hand, can tap the potential of the massive consumer market and at the same time benefit foreign businesses.

China remains one of the top three investment destinations for 63 percent of respondents in a survey conducted earlier this year by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and global consultancy firm Roland Berger.

It is a pity that while China steps up its efforts to reinvigorate international exchanges and cooperation, some U.S. politicians violate market principles and abuse national security concepts to wantonly suppress non-American businesses, clouding the outlook for the subdued world economy in dire need of the revival of trade activities. This is disruptive to the trust and norms the international community has built up over many years, and those politicians will never get their way.

China's rapid development over the decades benefited from interactions and cooperation with countries around the world and has in turn provided other countries with sustained growth impetus and important opportunities. The key to success lies in a true commitment to opening up, and such a commitment remains effective and will continue to benefit the world in the future.

Editor: 于慧宸