Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum held in Shanghai
Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum was held Monday in Shanghai on the sidelines of the on-going first China International Import Expo (CIIE).
Participants attend the Parallel Session on Trade and Investment of the Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 5, 2018.[Photo: Xinhua/Li Xin]
The forum gathered government officials from several countries, as well as well-known business leaders and representatives of international organizations. One key topic was how to revive international investment as an important engine of global growth, as trade frictions and protectionism have overshadowed prospects.
Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development highlighted the power of trade:
"Miracle of the past 40 years of China's opening up, rising from an insignificant player to the second largest economy, the largest exporting nation, the second largest importing nation in the world. It's sufficient and ample evidence of the power of trade, and not just in gross national wealth, and the fact that it liberated over 800 million people out of extreme poverty, is a statement of a direction and model development."
Jose Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, says technologies are reducing the cost of international trade.
"Today, businesses are often investing more in intangible assets than in machinery and equipment. Recognizing that to succeed, they have to boost their innovation capabilities. Our most recent estimates at the OECD is that around 14 percent of jobs in OECD countries are at high risk of automation, but further 32 percent of jobs could face substantial disruption with the low-skilled most at risks. Artificial intelligence and unprecedented growth in data, big data, are touching all the sectors. Technologies are transforming how and what we trade internationally, reducing the cost of international trade."
Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, says he believes small companies have the potential to change the world:
"The technology will make the trade more inclusive. We should make eighty percent of the business be able to trade across the board. We should make most of the young people use mobile phone that can buy, sell and deliver globally and this is the future of the world. Technology is going to create a lot of healthy, energetic and innovative small companies. And these small companies will change the world."
Three parallel sessions of the Forum focused on "trade and opening up," "trade and innovation," and "trade and investment" respectively.
The Hongqiao International Business Media and Think Tank Forum was also held on Monday in Shanghai.
Attendees agreed that media and think tanks should play a leading role in disseminating the concept of openness, sharing, win-win cooperation, inclusiveness and respect.