China Global Trade Expo: Xi’s promise of opening up China’s domestic market is Good News to Global South

By Alan Collins Mpewo.

Jointly hosted by China’s ministry of Commerce, the China International Import Expo (CIIE) is held every year in Shanghai. The expo is a trade fair and attracts numerous commercial actors (individual and otherwise) from all corners of the world. There are exhibitions of all majorly known legal commercial aspects. It has a world ranking status for being the first national level expo centered on an import theme. Exhibitions go on for a considerable time and it goes without saying that all actors engaged in the expo yield extensively in a business sense. It was first held in 2018 and it partners with reputable world commercial forums such as World Trade Organization, United National Industrial Development Organization, among many others alike.

This year’s expo commenced on 4’th November, 2022, with Chinese president Xi Jinping issuing the flag off speech. Other factors constant, the expo aims at exposing Chinese domestic products and services to the far ends of the world. In his opening ceremony address, President Xi had much to say; much of which revealed opportunities especially to countries in the global South.

It goes without saying, that until recently, most of such members of the global south have had explainable complexities in as far as penetrating the deeper consumer ends of foreign markets.

Uganda and its counterparts can pick from such initiatives to have national platforms held primarily for asserting more visibility of their domestic merchandise and services. Often times, potentially exquisite merchandise and services fall victim to an already uncoordinated market. The potential qualifier would therefore be – setting up such platforms to host players that would have some (and perhaps all) of the present market products penetrate far lands.

Presently, the development paradigm is shifting from a closed and overly gazetted market sphere, to an open border market. While the concept of extensive national domestic product and service marketing may seem novel, its importance shouldn’t be misunderstood. The world converges at one arena, with the national market taking center stage in that pursuit. China has exploited the concept. We can borrow this from them!

The world is at a point of mitigating the consequences of COVID-19 and therefore, Uganda and the other countries in the global South should adopt such ideas of boosting the post COVID recovery process of their economies.

In his speech entitled; “Working Together for a Bright Future of Openness and Prosperity,” President Xi reiterated the idea of openness as one of the founding principles of global human civilization. If critically analyzed, this will certainly help in creating new opportunities for the world with China’s own development, and contributing its share to building an open global economy.

Stressing this this, President Xi explained that China remains committed to the fundamental national policy of opening up to the outside world, pursues a mutually beneficial strategy of opening-up, and adheres to the right course of economic globalization. “Today, the CIIE has become a showcase of China’s new development paradigm, a platform for high-standard opening-up, and a public good for the whole world,” President Xi stressed.

In situations when the world is riding on uncertainties that may befall them, some of which have tolls on world economies, such would be a time for Uganda and her global South counterparts to embrace such concepts as modes of fast-tracking economic growth and reasonable stability even when hit with dangerous circumstances just as COVID-19 did sneak about unnoticed. Striking forces of innovation as these, guarantee a fighting opportunity for lower ranking nations on the world economic radar as regards mitigation of the far-reaching damage.

Globalization as a driver of cordial international relations is another aspect Uganda and her neighboring sister nations should prioritize. Such forums also seek to reassert the resolve of these countries in as far as efforts to achieving such. Quality guarantee would also be in sight. Understanding the global consumer needs is best at such forums. What needs to be improved? Rid of? Adopted… in quality assurance in the market components to realign with global demands. The general trend would always be guessing of the intricate global demands, yet with such platforms, lessons are detailed at a nationally controlled forum for all parties to easily pick lessons.

They are also a center for convergence of International commercial organizations. Not usually do the indigenous actors’ interface with the global commercial market regulators on a dialogue basis.

The other main picks from President Xi’s CIIE speech on the need for extensive multilateralism growth was the unwavering upholding of China’s principle of “mutual respect.” Such commercial establishments invite tendencies of superiority complex over the other countries engaged in such arrangements. China on the other hand, has remained pegged on its foundational ideal of cross-border diplomacy. For Uganda, this is a call to never having to bend its pursuits to intentional harm of other such benefiting parties. The diplomatic impressions born from how the country treats its partners either validates easier paths to establishing deeper relations with such other countries, or catalyze formation of fresh such relations with other countries there’s.

By and large, economic prosperity should be one of every country’s priority, and such initiatives as China’s expo are one of the novel ideas to adopt, benchmark, or learn from, for the global South.

Alan Collins Mpewo is a lawyer and a  Senior Research Fellow, Development Watch Centre.





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