Canton Fair an epitome of China, world helping each other succeed: Global Times editorial

Purchasers take a photo outside the 135th China Import and Export Fair exhibition hall on April 15, 2024. Photo: VCG

Purchasers take a photo outside the 135th China Import and Export Fair exhibition hall on April 15, 2024. Photo: VCG

The 135th China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) opened on April 15. On the basis of last year’s record high exhibition area and number of participating companies, this year’s Canton Fair has once again seen a significant increase in scale, with a total of 29,000 exhibiting companies, continuing the overall trend of becoming more lively year by year. According to media statistics, just one hour before the opening, over 20,000 overseas purchasers flooded in, with 40 percent of them being new purchasers. Against the backdrop of turmoil in the Middle East causing market worries, the grand and bustling opening of the Canton Fair has brought certainty to global trade.

Themed “Serving High-Quality Development, Promoting High-Level Opening-up,” this Canton Fair is held offline in three phases. As China’s barometer and compass for foreign trade, the outside world first perceives the strength and determination of China’s development and opening-up from the Canton Fair. In fact, since 1957, the Canton Fair has been held twice a year without interruption, which is unique among major countries in the world. China’s consistent goodwill and sincerity toward the world are tangible and visible.

Now, the Canton Fair has grown from a window of Chinese manufacturing to a platform for world manufacturing. In particular, the first phase of the exhibition, themed “Advanced Manufacturing,” highlights advanced industries and technological support, showcasing new quality productive forces. Over 5,500 high-quality characteristic enterprises with titles such as national-level high-tech enterprises, champions in manufacturing industry categories, and specialized and innovative “Little Giants” have participated, representing a 20 percent increase compared to the previous session. This is not only a natural presentation of China’s manufacturing industry climbing to the high end of the global industrial chain and value chain, but also will benefit the world, creating more opportunities and dividends. This is the true interaction between China and the world.

This kind of interaction is by no means a one-way output from China to the world. In the descriptions of some Western public opinions, China has been accused of dumping excess cheap goods to the world, squeezing the development space of other countries, and profiting from it. However, anyone who visits the Canton Fair exhibition site and takes a look around will easily understand why doing business with China is so popular. Take this session of the Canton Fair as an example, the number of top retailers and major businesses from various countries and regions has significantly increased. Among them are Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon from the US; Auchan, Carrefour, and Schneider from France; Tesco from the UK, and Metro AG from Germany. Nearly 200 leading companies have confirmed that they will form groups to participate in the fair. If these companies that truly engage with China were to paint a picture of China, it would be completely different from the portrayal by many “keyboard warriors” who have never been to China. Compared to their speculative predictions, the substantial deals made at the Canton Fair should be a more reliable indicator of the Chinese economy.

At the same time as the opening of the current Canton Fair, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is leading a large delegation on a visit to China. Meanwhile, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce delegation was discussing economic and trade cooperation issues with their Italian counterparts. At a broader level, projects in countries along the Belt and Road are being launched one after another, and flights to and from China are carrying business elites from around the world. Cooperation with China has become a trend that few Western politicians can intimidate or stop.

The Canton Fair has opened a door for mutual achievement between the world and China, and it is undoubtedly quite successful from any perspective. It can be fully anticipated that the transaction volume of this year’s Canton Fair will have a promising increase. This is not only the result of internal logic, but also the inevitable outcome of the current international political and economic situation. In the global industrial structural transformation, it is easy to see that China has the most powerful driving force for upgrading and transforming the national economy. For the world, especially in the current situation of continuous local conflicts and turmoil, such a comprehensive international trade fair with a wide source, good transaction results, and considerable reputation is also an important public product contributed by China. The more turbulent the world situation is, the more prominent the value of such a trade fair becomes.

China’s anti-dumping probe into EU brandy doesn’t target any member: commerce minister

China EU Photo:VCG

China EU Photo:VCG

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said on Monday in France that China’s anti-dumping investigation into brandy imported from the EU does not target any specific EU countries nor carry predefined findings, as China and the EU have strengthened communication recently to clear the clouds hanging over bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Analysts said that China’s anti-dumping probe into the brandy imports is fundamentally different from the EU’s politically motivated anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese electric vehicles (EVs).

They urged the EU to increase its strategic independence and join hands with China to appropriately deal with disagreements through dialogue for the benefit of both sides as well as global economic growth.

The anti-dumping investigation was prompted by a complaint submitted by China’s brandy industry, Wang said when meeting with three French brandy trade associations and five French brandy producers in Paris, according to a statement on the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) website.

China will conduct the investigation openly and transparently in accordance with Chinese law and WTO rules, while fully safeguarding the rights of all stakeholders, the minister said.

Wang’s remarks came as Western media outlets hyped the Chinese move as a tit-for-tat countermeasure to the EU’s anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese EVs.

“The EU’s protectionist move is purely a political decision by the European Commission, which is groundless and violates WTO rules,” Zhang Jian, vice president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Zhang blasted some European politicians – under pressure from the US – who advocate “de-risking” against China, resulting in serious disruptions to normal China-EU economic and trade cooperation.

Amid the global trade slowdown and other factors, China-EU trade in goods slipped 7.1 percent year-on-year to reach $783 billion in 2023, according to data released by China’s General Administration of Customs.

However, recent frequent exchanges between senior Chinese and European officials have sent a positive signal of deepening China-EU economic and trade development, Yang Chengyu, an associate research fellow at the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

According to Western media reports, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit China in mid-April with a business delegation. Some leading German companies confirmed to the Global Times the participation of their CEOs in the delegation.

As economic and trade relations remain a ballast stone for China-EU relations, deepening pragmatic cooperation in more sectors conforms to both sides’ interests, according to Yang.

“The EU is pursuing a green and digital transition, while China has notable production capacity advantages in these areas. Thus, increased economic and trade cooperation will contribute to the bloc’s development and prosperity,” Yang said, noting that “de-risking” will risk losing opportunities from the huge China market.

Wang met members of the French business community including Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury and BNP Paribas Chairman Jean Lemierre. During the meetings, the French companies said that they are firmly positive about China’s economic prospects and business environment, with commitments to long-term development in the market, according to a separate statement on the Chinese Commerce Ministry’s website.

Along with China’s high-level opening-up, European companies have rapidly increased investment in the market for greater opportunities. Volkswagen has established its largest overseas research and development (R&D) center in North China’s Tianjin. 

Valeo has announced plans to build a comfort and driving assistance systems manufacturing and R&D site in Shanghai. AstraZeneca will invest $475 million to build a small molecule drug factory in Wuxi, East China’s Jiangsu Province.

During Wang’s meetings with French officials and business executives in Paris, he stressed that China is promoting high-quality development and accelerating the development of new quality productive forces so as to create a fair competition environment for domestic and foreign enterprises, providing wider opportunities for European companies, including those from France.

China is willing to join hands with France to give play to existing economic and trade mechanisms to appropriately control disagreements through dialogue and cooperation and strengthen efforts to address each other’s reasonable key concerns, Wang said.

It’s normal that China and the EU have disagreements, experts said. With understanding and consensus, the two sides will be able to appropriately deal with these disagreements and boost China-EU economic and trade cooperation to a direction that benefits both sides, Zhang said, expressing optimism for the prospects of bilateral trade cooperation.

GT Voice: China-Russia trade can withstand escalating pressure from the West

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Beijing for an official visit on Monday. With escalating Western sanctions on Russia, how China-Russia economic and trade cooperation will be affected has become a topic of concern. 

Against this backdrop, Lavrov’s latest visit to China is being closely watched by observers with great interest. The visit comes at a time when economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia is at a critical juncture. 

On the one hand, Moscow has accelerated the shift of its economic cooperation focus to the Asia-Pacific market, with China emerging as a key player. The scale and quality of China-Russia economic exchanges are steadily improving, covering areas like trade, industry, agriculture, logistics and infrastructure.

On the other hand, the US and its European allies have been ramping up sanctions on Russia, which have exerted tremendous pressure on the Russian economy and led to unprecedented challenges to the economic and trade relationship between Russia and China. 

It can be anticipated that China-Russia trade will face more strains than ever under the Western pressure. For instance, even during a visit to China, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen still warned on Saturday that there will be “significant consequences” for China if its companies support Russia, Politico reported.

Western pressure on China over its Russia trade is not just due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but also due to strategic goals, such as Washington’s aim of targeting and containing China by means of sanctions. More and more signs show that it is actually a tactic of the West to point a finger at normal trade between China and Russia, which aims to use the opportunity to hurt Chinese companies and hinder the development of Chinese manufacturing and businesses.

However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a press conference in February that normal trade and economic cooperation between China and Russia is not targeted at any third party or subject to any interference by any third party. 

China firmly opposes illegal unilateral sanctions against Chinese companies and will take necessary measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, Mao said.

China remains steadfast in its position on this matter. Like many other developing countries and emerging economies, China is committed to pursuing its own interests while also adhering to international norms in economic and trade cooperation. Despite external pressures, China’s willingness to continue economic and trade cooperation with Russia will not change. 

China will not compromise its basic principles or its stance due to the long-arm jurisdiction of the US, nor will it become a follower of any other country’s strategy. Chinese companies may take precautions to mitigate risks, but their willingness to cooperate and adhere to those principles will remain unwavering.

The deepening cooperation between China and Russia is a strong manifestation of the resilience of their trade, which is unlikely to be affected by Western sanctions in the long run. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, with bilateral trade flourishing at a record pace. In 2023, China-Russia trade reached $240.11 billion, up 26.3 percent compared with the previous year.

Also, about 92 percent of trade settlements between Russia and China are now conducted in Russian rubles and the yuan, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk said at the Boao Forum for Asia last month.

Such developments show the strong vitality and potential of China-Russia economic cooperation, which enjoys a high degree of trade complementarities, political mutual trust and diversified areas for cooperation. All these factors together constitute a strong foundation for bilateral trade, enabling it to withstand challenges amid the complex international environment.

Alternative Asian supply chain to replace China not feasible, experts at Boao say

This photo taken on March 25, 2024 shows the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) International Conference Center in Boao, South China's Hainan Province, is ready for the upcoming forum. The BFA Annual Conference 2024 will be held from March 26 to 29 in Boao, focusing on how the international community can work together to deal with common challenges and shoulder their responsibilities. Photo: cnsphoto

This photo taken on March 25, 2024 shows the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) International Conference Center in Boao, South China’s Hainan Province, is ready for the upcoming forum. The BFA Annual Conference 2024 will be held from March 26 to 29 in Boao, focusing on how the international community can work together to deal with common challenges and shoulder their responsibilities. Photo: cnsphoto

An alternative Asian supply chain to replace China, as some Western media outlets have suggested, is not feasible, said an author of a report released on Tuesday by the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which convened its 2024 conference in Boao, a resort town in South China’s Hainan Province.

According to the forum’s Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress flagship report, China maintains its position as a regional hub in the global value chain, despite increasing risks in global trade and investment.

Lin Guijun, former vice president of the University of International Business and Economics, also an author of the report, told the Global Times on Tuesday that although there have been some changes in the global value chain and supply chain, it is not feasible to establish an alternative supply chain that can replace China’s status in Asia.

The Economist, a UK-based magazine, recently came up with an idea Altasia, a shorthand for the alternative Asian supply chain, which it believed had the potential to provide alternatives to China’s supply chains in the coming years.

Lin noted that there have been some shifts in industrial chains, but the overall volume is small. 

Despite the changes, China maintains its dominant position in intermediate goods trade in Asia, with 20 of the 22 largest component products still being led by China, Lin said, citing the report. Additionally, there has been a significant increase in trade volumes of telecommunications components, batteries, and electrical machinery centering around China in recent years, Lin added.

“It will be difficult for other countries to replace China’s leading position,” Lin said.

As China’s industrial system is undergoing a transformation and upgrading, there is a need to relocate some labor-intensive processes or industries overseas, to optimize resource allocation, Hu Qimu, a deputy secretary-general of the digital-real economies integration Forum 50, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

However, in terms of high-end industrial chains, especially those related to the digital economy, many countries may not have the necessary infrastructure, such as internet connectivity, that China possesses. This is the key factor that makes China irreplaceable in this aspect, Hu said.

The report pointed out that the global reliance on China’s value chain in 2022 remained higher than in 2019, underscoring the competitiveness of Chinese factories.

The report also pointed out that China and ASEAN retain central positions in the Asian trade of goods, with China’s export competitiveness evident in its growing trade with other Asia-Pacific economies.

China’s foreign trade got off to robust start in the first two months of 2024, expanding 8.7 percent after achieving 0.2 percent growth in 2023, a “hard-won achievement” amid headwinds.

Zhou Shixin, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday that China – as the second largest-economy in the world – plays a crucial role in the global supply chain network.

“Due to its deep integration into the global economy, it is not easy for any country to completely strip out China from the global supply chain. Similarly, China also relies on the integrity and stability of the global supply chain for its own economic development,” Zhou said.

The Asian economy is expected to grow by around 4.5 percent in 2024, surpassing the level of 2023, and remain the largest contributor to global economic growth, according to the report.

The accelerated development of digital trade, the recovery of tourism in Asia, continuous progress in economic and trade arrangements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the positive effects of the restructuring of Asian value and industrial chains on regional economic integration, are expected to gradually emerge and add new impetus to Asian trade and investment.

Trade with China mainly settled in yuan, rubles: Russian deputy PM

Aerial photo taken on Feb. 21, 2021 shows the first China-Europe freight train linking St. Petersburg of Russia with Chengdu departing the Chengdu International Railway Port in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. Photo: Xinhua

Aerial photo taken on February 21, 2021 shows the first China-Europe freight train linking St. Petersburg of Russia with Chengdu departing the Chengdu International Railway Port in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Photo: Xinhua

About 92 percent of trade settlement between Russia and China is now conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk said on Wednesday at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia in South China’s Hainan Province.

He also said that Russia hopes to strengthen financial ties with other countries to replace the US dollar in the international arena in the future, in a bid to ensure the stability and security of local currencies.

Overchuk’s remarks came amid growing emphasis by both sides on trade in local currency and de-dollarization efforts in a bid to reduce risks and costs. In July 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that over 80 percent of trade settlement between Russia and China was conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, according to media reports.

Bilateral trade between China and Russia continues to show upward momentum, reaching $240.1 billion in 2023, up 26.3 percent from a year earlier. The figure was over $190 billion in 2022, with energy taking the key share.

China-Russia relations are a model of relations between major powers. When talking about the relationship between Russia and China, Overchuk emphasized that the dynamic and stable relationship between the two countries is based on mutual respect, equality, and years of profound historical exchanges between the two governments. Russia will continue to promote the growth of trade between the two countries and advance new interconnection projects, he said.

One of the prominent changes over the past 50 years has been the rise of the Global South, Overchuk said while addressing a sub-forum titled “The Rise of the Global South.” Faced with increasing global uncertainty, countries from the Global South should strengthen cooperation and unite to meet challenges, he said.

Overchuk also pointed out Russia’s willingness to strengthen cooperation with countries in the Global South in the field of cross-border trade and transportation infrastructure construction, saying that Russia hopes to expand market access and push for the building of international transportation corridors.

“We are currently seeing signs of anti-globalization and rising trade fragmentation in global markets, which requires us to strengthen cooperation and connections with our neighboring countries,” said Overchuk.

2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. The determination of China and Russia to work together hand in hand is even stronger, the foundation of generational friendship is more solid, and the prospects for comprehensive cooperation are even broader, Zhang Hanhui, the Chinese Ambassador to Russia, said in an interview with Tass on March 21.

Chinese Commerce Minister calls for Netherlands to maintain regular lithography machine trade for healthy development of bilateral trade ties

A chip manufacture machine Photo: VCG

A chip manufacture machine Photo: VCG

The Chinese side considers the Netherlands a reliable trade partner and hopes the Netherlands can uphold the spirit of contract to support companies fulfill contract obligations to ensure the regular trade of lithography machines, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said while meeting visiting Dutch Trade Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen in Beijing on Wednesday.

The Chinese side commends the Netherlands for being committed to free trade, Wang said, calling for the two sides to jointly safeguard stability of global semiconductor industrial and supply chains to prevent the abuse of security concept and boost the healthy development of bilateral economic and trade ties, according to a press statement on the website of the Ministry of Commerce.

Van Leeuwen said trade is a major contributor to the economy of the Netherlands, and the country is committed to free trade and attaches great importance to China-Dutch economic and trade cooperation.

China is one of the most important trade partners of the Netherlands and the country is willing to continue to be a reliable partner for China, van Leeuwen said.

The Dutch official said that its export control measures do not target any country. The Dutch government made the decision on the basis of independent evaluations and seeks to reduce impact on the global semiconductor industrial and supply chains at its most, with the prerequisite of safety.

Van Leeuwen said he expects that the two countries will further cooperate in fields including green transition and care services.

The Dutch government in 2023 introduced a licensing requirement for ASML’s shipments of its most advanced deep ultraviolet lithography machines.

On January 2, ASML said that the Dutch government had partially revoked an export license for the shipment of some chipmaking equipment to China, according to a press release sent to the Global Times.

Exports of NXT:2050i and NXT:2100i lithography systems in 2023 were affected, the company said.

Global Times