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China continues to import more

Author  :  ZHANG WEI     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2019-11-22

The conference on China’s imports in Beijing on Nov. 12 Photo: Pan Di/ GUANGMING ONLINE

China’s total imports have been growing strong since the People’s Republic of China was founded 70 years ago, according to a report released in Beijing Nov. 12.

According to the report, China’s total imports have skyrocketed over the past 70 years. In 1950, China’s import volume was 583 million USD. In 1978, the figure shot up to 10.89 billion USD, 18.68 times what it was 28 years before. The number in 2018 was nine times that of 2001, about 136 times that of 1979, and about 3,663 times that of 1950.

It is a good time to import more when global economic recovery still lacks momentum, the report observes. Imports have a special role to play in the Chinese economy at its present stage of development.

The report points out that the China International Import Expo (CIIE) is a good example of the country’s efforts to open wider to the world. The CIIE is going to become China’s No.1 platform for promoting imports and a milestone on China’s journey of opening up. The increase in China’s imports not only benefits China’s economy and enterprises, but also improves consumer welfare and boosts global economic growth, the report concludes.

To this end, the report comes up with the following proposals: continue to hold the import expo and use it as a high-level international platform for imports; continue to jointly build the Belt and Road; come up with a new trade model; deepen bi-lateral and multi-lateral cooperation; promote trade liberalization and facilitation; enhance IPR protection; make financing easier and more affordable; stimulate the development of a robust domestic market; and continue to unlock the potential of domestic demand.

The report’s launch event was co-hosted by the Yangtze IDEI at Nanjing University, Guangming Think Tank and Guangming Online. Experts who participated in the conference also shared their views on the matter.

Huo Jianguo, vice chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, said that increasing imports is a key measure for balancing the Chinese economy and tackling the issues we face inside and outside China. He believed that this method could reduce the trade surplus and promote consumption upgrading in China.

Huo said that importing is a strategic matter concerning how China can make full use of the domestic and foreign markets and resources in the long run. He suggested that we should keep track of the trade balance and prepare to make the transition to letting the market determine the total import volume. Huo went on to say that China should bear in mind international conventions and abide by the rules of the WTO, while keeping a balance between increased imports and domestic service trade.

“We import more to strive for a sustainable trade balance. Against the backdrop of the current global economy, we need to come up with a practical measure for the building of an open world economy,” said Tang Yihong, former dean of the School of International Trade and Economics at the Central University of Finance and Economics.

Hong Junjie, dean of the School of International Trade and Economics at the University of International Business and Economics, said that importing is an essential part of China’s opening up strategy. It benefits both consumers and the open economy of the world. By making the world economy more balanced and sustainable, China also stands out as a responsible major country.

Editor: Yu Hui

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