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Digital trade new engine for joint growth

By Xu Wei in Beijing and Fan Feifei in Hangzhou| China Daily| Updated: November 24, 2023 L M S


Visitors inspect an industrial robot at the Global Digital Trade Expo, which opened in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Thursday. LIN YUNLONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

President hails Hangzhou expo, says China providing opportunities for world

President Xi Jinping has encouraged various parties to make full use of the Global Digital Trade Expo to seek cooperation, common development and shared benefits, in order to build digital trade into a new engine for joint development and inject new impetus into world economic growth.

In a congratulatory letter to the second Global Digital Trade Expo, which opened in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Thursday, Xi noted that booming global digital trade has become a new highlight of international trade.

He said China has actively aligned itself with high-standard international economic and trade rules, established and improved its digital trade governance systems, and promoted the reform and innovation of digital trade in recent years.

By doing so, China has been providing new opportunities for the world with its new development, he added.

Vice-President Han Zheng, who attended the opening ceremony of the expo and read the letter from Xi, said China regards digital trade as one of the three pillars supporting the building of a strong trading nation, alongside trade in goods and trade in services.

China is willing to work with other nations to create an open, inclusive, fair, just and nondiscriminatory environment for the development of the digital economy, and to collectively promote the high-quality and sustainable development of global digital trade, he said.

Beijing will continue to accelerate its digital transformation and the development of cross-border e-commerce, promote the construction of digital infrastructure, establish a pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation, and work with Belt and Road partners to build a large e-commerce market, he added.

The Hangzhou expo, with the theme of "Digital Trade, Global Access", attracted more than 800 companies, with nearly 15,000 professional buyers having registered for the event, including over 1,700 overseas buyers.

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said, "About a quarter of all trade today is digital, and digital trade is growing at a much faster pace than nondigital trade."

Digitalization has been and continues to be a strong engine for global trade, helping enterprises reach new consumers worldwide, and fostering the development of innovative new goods and services, he added.

Zhang Xiangchen, deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization, said: "Digital trade has become the main driving force of economic growth, job creation, social inclusiveness and sustainable development. China has made remarkable achievements in digital trade and emerged as a global powerhouse in this area."

He added that China has also played a pivotal role in promoting digital trade worldwide.

Zhang noted that China's fast-growing investments in digital trade infrastructure and technologies in various regions, including Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, have had a transformative impact on local economies, bridging the digital divide and fostering digital connectivity, and enhancing their participation in the global digital marketplace.

"As the digital landscape continues to expand, it is crucial to create an international framework that ensures consistent, fair and predictable national policies on cross-border digital transactions," he said.

According to a report released by the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday, China's import and export of digitally-delivered service trade rose 3.4 percent year-on-year to $372.71 billion in 2022, reaching a new record high.

In addition, the import and export scale of the country's cross-border e-commerce reached 2.11 trillion yuan ($296.2 billion) last year, up 9.8 percent year-on-year. E-commerce exports stood at 1.55 trillion yuan, an increase of 11.7 percent over the previous year.

Ding Lei, CEO of Chinese internet company NetEase, emphasized the significance of digital trade in bolstering global economic development, saying that Chinese enterprises should speed up digital transformation, thoroughly and rapidly, on all fronts.

The number of Chinese sellers who offer products abroad through Amazon's overseas marketplaces has seen steady growth, said Cindy Tai, vice-president of Amazon and head of Amazon Global Selling Asia. She added that the recovery of consumption and online shopping demand from overseas consumers has brought enormous business opportunities to China's cross-border e-commerce sector.