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Forum to connect business leaders

By Zhong Nan, Liu Yukun in Beijing and Shi Jing in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-20 09:42
Scholars and business executives have a discussion in Beijing on Tuesday about the Second Hongqiao International Economic Forum, which will be held in Shanghai on Nov 5 during the China International Import Expo. [Photo provided to China Daily]

This year's event will focus on opening-up and innovation to boost world economic development

At a time of increasing trade uncertainties, the Hongqiao International Economic Forum - a platform connecting leaders from different industries during the China International Import Expo - will improve understanding and even offer solutions for the challenges facing a slowing global economy.

Assistant Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin said that this year's forum, which will be held on Nov 5, will try to address the challenges facing world economic development by focusing on opening-up and innovation.

Up to 50 experts from all over the world will deliver speeches and exchange opinions with other attendants, said Ren. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jin Liqun and Nobel Laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides have confirmed their attendance at the forum.

Similar to last year, this year's Hongqiao International Economic Forum will consist of an opening ceremony in the morning followed by four parallel sessions. As world GDP growth slows and world trade has remained stagnant since the global financial crisis in 2008, one parallel session will explore the future direction for multilateral and regional cooperation. While in another, the role of e-commerce platforms in world trade will be discussed.

Faced with the opportunities and challenges brought by economic globalization, efforts should be made to explore the right path for policies facilitating trade and investment. Therefore, one of the parallel sessions will discuss the roles of the government and multinational companies in the process of improving the business environment, said Ren.

"Against that backdrop, open cooperation will help inject more vitality into the world investment environment. Governments should improve their services to companies to create a stable, fair, transparent and open business environment," he said.

A total of 1,500 guests will be invited to attend the second Hongqiao International Economic Forum, and each of its sub-forums will have 800 guests taking part. The total number of participants is expected to surpass the first forum held in 2018, said Chen Chao, deputy director-general of the department of international trade and economic affairs at the Ministry of Commerce.

Kong Fuan, deputy director-general of China International Import Expo Bureau, said the highlight of this year's Hongqiao International Economic Forum is its new membership system, which includes four levels - diamond, platinum, gold and silver.

The forum's member companies can enjoy various rights according to different categories. Once they have gained membership, it can be used for three years. Many domestic and global companies have applied for memberships at different levels. The applicants include multinationals, State-owned enterprises and many private companies, covering food, medicine and healthcare, transportation, information technology, finance and other fields, said Kong.

To create more convenient conditions for participating businesses in domestic and global markets, Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based think tank, suggested that from a long-term perspective, the government should consider issuing a travel card for CIIE participants similar to the APEC Business Travel Card, allowing card holders to use a special immigration lane and enjoy streamlined clearance.

"Through CIIE, we saw China's determination to build a more open business environment, promote globalization in the market and to meet people's expectations for a better life," said Lan Zhenzhen, vice-president of L'Oreal China.

Lan said the company benefits from the many policies, such as tax and fee cuts, and loosened market access, which help the development of foreign companies in China. The company displayed more than 500 products during last year's event.

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