Samoa on display at China's import expo

By Marc Membrere 09 November 2021, 9:34PM

The People's Republic of China launched its 4th International Import Expo in Shanghai on Thursday with Samoa participating in its virtual Country Pavilion to showcase its economic and technological developments.

Minister of the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labor (M.C.I.L) Leatinuu Wayne Sooialo attended the event virtually.

The China International Import Expo (C.I.I.E) is the world's first import-themed national-level expo. During last year's expo, intended business contracts worth $72.62 billion were signed.

In a statement issued by the Ambassador of China to Samoa, Chao Xiaoliang stated that opening up is the hallmark of contemporary China. 

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Over the last two decades, China has fully delivered on its accession commitments. Its overall tariff rate has been cut from 15.3 percent to 7.4 percent, lower than the 9.8 percent accession commitment," The Ambassador said in a statement.

"The central government has reviewed and revised over 2,300 pieces of laws and regulations, and local governments over 190,000 pieces, which all helped to unleash market and social vitality."

He added that opening up has generated a new wave of domestic development while injecting fresh impetus into the world economy. 

"Over the last 20 years, China’s economic size has grown from the 6th to the 2nd largest in the world, trade in goods from the 6th to the 1st, and trade in services from the 11th to the 2nd. China has led developing countries in utilized foreign investment, and its outbound direct investment (O.D.I) has risen from the 26th to the 1st. As the only major economy to register positive growth of trade in goods last year, China has made important contributions to keeping global industrial and supply chains stable and boosting world economic recovery," he said.

 "The door of China's opening up will never shut and China welcomes all countries to ride on its development. 

The Ambassador explained that China's annual import in goods and services is valued at around US$2.5 trillion, and this offers what he calls an enormous market. 

"Going forward, China will lay more emphasis on expanding imports, and pursue balanced development of trade. China will open more demonstration zones for creative promotion of import trade, and optimize the catalogue of retail imports via cross-border e-commerce. China will better integrate its domestic and foreign trade, speed up the development of international consumption center cities, promote Silk Road e-commerce, build modern logistics systems, and shore up the capacity of cross-border logistics," he said.

 Ambassador Xiaoliang also said that China is ready to share development opportunities with Samoa. 

"This year we commemorate the 46th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Samoa. According to statistics of China Customs, our bilateral trade volume reached US$72,910,500 from January to September 2021, realizing an year on year increase of 12.5 per cent against the trend of steep decline in global trade. Looking into the future, more opportunities of economic and commercial cooperation lie in 3 broad focus areas, including agriculture and fishery, digital economy and tourism," he said.

He added that new growth momentum of export are hidden in the agriculture and fishery industry, and that the local- featured raw and value-added products such as Samoa water, Noni Juice, Virgin Coconut Oil, Taro chips and Cocoa powder exhibited in the C.I.I.E. and Canto Fair have demonstrated good prospects for exporting to China. 

"The two governments also signed a protocol on the inspection, quarantine and sanitation requirements for marine fish exports, tapping the Chinese market potential under the premise of avoiding over-exploitation of fishing resources. There are also opportunities associated with transshipment of fish to China," he said.

 Ambassador Xiaoliang also highlighted the digital economy in his statement revealing that China is going to be the first country with its e-commerce sales outstripping bricks-and-mortar retail in 2021. 

"Samoa companies could now ship goods in bulk to Chinese warehouses in free trade zones before selling to customers through e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba. ‘Buy Samoa Made’, the new brand for all products made in Samoa could be promoted via short videos on Tiktok and other live-streaming platforms," he said.

He added that tourism authorities from 17 countries and more than 2,600 exhibitors with over 500,000 exhibits were displayed in the 2nd China International Cultural Tourism Fair (C.I.C.T.F) held in September, "inking deals" worth 437 million. 

"Moreover, Chinese arrivals will surely resume to normal once Samoa’s border reopens. On the basis of the Agreement Between China and Samoa Relating to Civil Air Transport signed in 2016, hopefully our two countries could work together to implement it and establish [a] direct flight," he said.

 "As a Chinese proverb reads, 'The going may be tough when one walks alone, but it gets easier when people walk together.' As the pandemic continues to pose severe challenges to both China and Samoa, it is all the more imperative that we pull together to tide over this difficult time. 

"China stands ready to work with Samoa in facilitating economic recovery and serving for the interest and well-being of the two peoples."

By Marc Membrere 09 November 2021, 9:34PM
Samoa Observer

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