On 5 November 2019, Sri Lanka main stream newspaper such as Daily FT carried an article by Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan entitled“An Open and Inclusive China Welcomes You
——The Second China International Import Expo Injects New Impetus into China-Sri Lanka Economic and Trade Cooperation”. The full text is as follows:
The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) was held successfully in Shanghai from November 5 to November 10, 2018. In the event, there were 172 countries, regions and international organizations, more than 3,600 foreign companies with a total exhibition area of 300,000 square meters, and over 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers to explore business deals. More than 300 new products and technology were released for the first time and potential trading volume on site reached 57.8 billion US dollars. At the invitation of the Chinese side, Sri Lanka also actively participated in the first CIIE with fruitful results. According to Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), organizing party of Sri Lankan’s participation in the first CIIE, 29 local companies participated in the Business Exhibition of the first CIIE through EDB, and they received on-site confirmed orders of 270,000 US dollars and orders under negotiations for more than 16.7 million US dollars. Also, satisfying results have been achieved in terms of signing MOUs, seeking agents and dealers, etc.
The CIIE is the world’s first import expo held at the national level, an innovation in the history of global trade. It upholds the global governance concept of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits”. The CIIE is not China’s solo show, but rather a chorus involving countries from around the world. In his keynote speech delivered at the Opening Ceremony of the first CIIE, President Xi Jinping said, “The CIIE, an event to be held on an annual basis, will feature good performance, good results and continued success in the years to come”. It further represents China’s sincere wish to open its market to the world, and shows China’s active role as a major power in undertaking the responsibility of pushing forward economic globalization.
The second China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai from November 5 to November 10, 2019. There will be both Country Exhibition and Business Exhibition, and Hongqiao International Economic Forum with the theme of “Opening-up and Innovation for Win-win Cooperation”. Relevant national (regional) politicians, heads of international organizations and important academics will conduct in-depth dialogue on issues of world economic and industrial development, etc. The second CIIE is featured by larger scale, superior quality, more innovation, higher level and better results compared with the first one. This year, Sri Lanka was again invited to attend the second CIIE, demonstrating the great importance we attach to China-Sri Lanka economic and trade relations. We hope that all the participating enterprises and buyers could take full advantage of this platform and actively explore the Chinese market.
China and Sri Lanka are each other’s important trade partner, and in recent years, bilateral economic and trade cooperation under the “Belt and Road” Initiative has achieved fruitful results. Over the past decades, remarkable achievements have been made in China’s economic development. Meanwhile, we sincerely hope that Sri Lanka could board the train of China’s development. Products and services with Sri Lankan characteristics, strengths and competitiveness are welcomed to China’s vast market with a population of over 1.3 billion. Sri Lanka is endowed with unique geographical advantage and natural environment, so there are many products (such as black tea, gems and jewelries, rubber, etc.) with special Sri Lankan characteristics. The deepening of China-Sri Lanka economic and trade exchanges and the first CIIE have made more Chinese consumers get to know and like Sri Lankan products. This will not only expand Sri Lanka’s exports to China and reduce its trade deficit, but also better meet the needs of Chinese consumers, which is undoubtedly a win-win situation.
To help Sri Lankan companies better explore the Chinese market and expand exports to China, we have the following suggestions. First, improve the production process and product quality, and avoid crudely-made products; second, increase product differentiation and diversification to meet the individualized needs of different segments of consumers; third, highlight Sri Lankan features, put more efforts in product packaging and publicity which reflect regional and cultural characteristics, to catch the eyes of consumers; fourth, improve production efficiency and expand production capacity. In recent years, China has vigorously promoted supply-side structural reform and achieved remarkable results. Simply speaking, it is to strengthen quality supply from the production side, reduce inefficient supply, and improve total factor productivity (TFP), to make the supply system better adapt to changes in the pattern of demand. In fact, this also applies to Sri Lanka. We hope that Sri Lanka can seize the opportunity of China’s actively expanding its open market, and constantly try and explore, so that Sri Lanka’s products can better meet the needs of the vast number of Chinese consumers. In this way, our two countries could achieve economic growth and mutually beneficial development and common prosperity.
We would like to work together with the international community including Sri Lanka to build China International Import Expo into an effective channel for goods, technologies and services from all over the world to enter the Chinese market, and an international public product to promote economic globalization, to make contributions in building an open world economy and a community of shared future for mankind, and promoting better development of global trade and world economy.