The 5th China-Eurasia Expo was held in Urumqi (Xinjiang) from September 20 to 25, 2016. Themed on “Mutual discussion, joint development and sharing/Silk Road: Opportunities and Future”, this session of China-Eurasia Expo was held in the first year of the 13th Five-Year Plan period and after Xinjiang being positioned as “a core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt”. A number of new achievements have been made in promoting summit diplomacy between China and Asian and European countries, propelling construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt, enhancing the economic and trade cooperation between Xinjiang and surrounding countries (regions) and showing the image of Xinjiang.
I.Assembly of dignitaries and further expansion of diplomacy platform
A great number of people attended the expo, including Eligen Imibakhi, vice chairman of the National People's Congress, Wang Qinmin, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Kokhir Rasulzoda, prime minister of Tajikistan, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Hermine Naghdalyan, deputy speaker of the Republic of Armenia, Nikolai Snopkov, deputy head of the Belarus President Administration, representatives from six international organizations such as the Silk Road Fund and 57 countries and regions, 38 diplomatic envoys of foreign countries in China, and more than 200 domestic and foreign guests at ministerial level. Therefore, this session of the expo became the one attended by the most dignitaries.
Eligen Imibakhi delivered a keynote speech at the China-Eurasia Economic Development and Cooperation Forum (main forum). Centering on the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt, he brought forward the initiative to “uphold the concepts of ‘opening-up and inclusiveness, mutual discussion and construction and mutual benefits and win-win results’ to give full play to the role of ‘the Belt and Road” initiative as an engine for cooperation to explore new space and fields for international cooperation, and take advantage of the policy and location advantages to jointly promote industrial cooperation along the Silk Road Economic Belt”. The initiative was highly agreed by all the parties attending the forum. More than 800 people, including foreign dignitaries, people in charge of international organizations, senior officials from foreign governments and well-known scholars, attended the main forum. The guests exchanged opinions centering the theme of the expo and expressed expectations for further cooperation in opening-up and cooperation as well as construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Eligen Imibakhi also met with Kokhir Rasulzoda, prime minister of Tajikistan, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, and Nikolai Snopkov, deputy head of the Belarus President Administration. Chen Quanguo and Shohrat Zakir, officials from the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Li Huilai, official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the meeting. The Chinese and foreign government officials had an in-depth communication on a number of mutually interested issued, including the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt, bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues, and reached a series of important consensuses, promoting the development of relationships between those countries. Shohrat Zakir, Neymul Yasen, Zhu Hailun, Huang Wei, Tuniyaz and Shi Dagang, officials of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, met with overseas dignitaries and guests through 13 meetings, tightening the friendly partnerships between Xinjiang and related countries and regions and international organizations. The role of the China-Eurasia Expo as a diplomacy platform has been highlighted, especially in increasingly enhancing mutual trust for the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and its core area.
II.Pragmatic achievements and new breakthroughs in improving functions of cooperation platforms
During the 5th China-Eurasia Expo, 15 forums and specialized activities at ministerial level were held, with attendees from 57 countries and regions, 21 more than that concerning the last session of the expo, and 187 domestic and overseas guests at vice-ministerial level and above, which tripled that attending the last session of the expo. A series of achievements have been made in the fields of news, quarantine and inspection, science and technology, finance, education, poverty alleviation, industry and commerce, women’s programs, traffic, tourism, economic and trade development, legal services, logistics, agriculture, culture and film and television. This session of the expo, with the most forums and activities and guests, covered the widest range of economic and social fields and achieved the most abundant pragmatic achievements.
Consensuses have been reached in a variety of fields. The attendees reached a series of consensuses on the “Silk Road of Information” to further promote the exchange and cooperation between Chinese and foreign media. The Agreement on Cooperation in Frontier Health Quarantine was signed to further strengthen the trade contacts between Xinjiang and Asian and European countries. The Urumqi Declaration of the Eurasia Information Highway Connectivity Forum proposes to establish a close multilateral cooperation mechanism among the communication operators of related countries to provide a communication guarantee for business development. The MOU on Cooperation in Logistics and the agreement on “e-shop” were signed to greatly promote the development of the logistics industry of Xinjiang. Altay Prefecture and related surrounding countries reached consensus in cross-border tourism to promote the construction of the pilot zone for international cooperation in tourism in the mountainous area of the Altai Mountains. In addition, the agreements on cooperation between Xinjiang and Shanghai Gold Exchange, cooperation between Urumqi and several financial institutions as well as financial services including credit granted to TBEA by several financial enterprises were signed, enhancing the cooperation between Xinjiang and financial enterprises and strengthening the function of finance in promoting the development of Xinjiang.
It aims to set up a platform for the construction of the core area. It suggested that mechanism-based Eurasia Information Highway Connectivity Forum should be held to accelerate the communication and cooperation between Xinjiang and surrounding countries in information construction. A series of cooperation agreements were reached with many foreign universities to promote the cooperation between Xinjiang and surrounding countries in science and technology and education. It was confirmed that communication and cooperation mechanism for promoting women employment and for other purposes related to women will be established, and great efforts will be made to promote female entrepreneurs to devote to emerging industries and participate in innovation and business launch. It was proposed that the ethnic and overseas Chinese should play a more important role in the development of Xinjiang. Many overseas Chinese businessmen have donated money and goods for the poverty-stricken areas. Overseas academicians have provided advice for the development of Xinjiang and poverty alleviation. The proposal to provide legal support for practice of “the Belt and Road” initiative was adopted, and an alliance for cooperation in legal services for “the Belt and Road” was established, while a MOU of the alliance was signed. The legal service industry will provide legal support for enterprises to seek for a development in the countries along the Silk Road. The associations for industry and commerce reached a consensus on enhancing cooperation to provide more services for industrial and commercial enterprises.
It also aims to set up a platform for cultural communication. During the Sino-Foreign Culture Display Week, a series of Chinese and foreign excellent cultural works were exhibited, including song and dance shows, films and TV programs and cultural relics exhibitions, which further enhance the cultural communication between Xinjiang and surrounding countries. The Eurasia Movie Show exhibited 24 movies from 11 Asian and European countries for totally more than 100 times, promoting the cultural communication and integration.
Economic and trade achievements become highlights. During the forums and activities, a series of economic and trade cooperation and project contracts were signed, with a total contract amount of USD18 billion. These contracts cover science and technology, agriculture, minerals, energy, industry and finance. The contract amount tripled that of the last session of the expo. Through the Silk Road Financial Forum, related enterprises made remarkable achievements in financing. Contracts for a total of 16 cooperation projects were signed, including seven for cooperation between banks and enterprises, respectively with total granted credit of RMB31.909 billion and USD5.13 billion. The inauguration ceremony for the branch of Habib Bank Limited Pakistan in Urumqi was held. Habib Bank Limited Pakistan became the first foreign-funded bank based in a country along the Silk Road Economic Belt to establish a branch in Xinjiang.
III.Unprecedented scale and fruitful results in economic and trade cooperation
The 5th China-Eurasia Expo hits a historical high in terms of exhibition area, coverage of exhibitions and number of exhibitors. The Phase II project of the Xinjiang International Convention & Exhibition Center was put into use, covering a total exhibition area of 140,000 square meters, increasing by 51,000 square meters (57%) over the last session. There were 14 pavilions with 6,809 standard stands. A total of 28 Chinese provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities), five cities specifically designated in the state plan, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and the prefectures and cities of Xinjiang participated in the expo as exhibitors. There were exhibitors and visitors from 57 countries (regions) and six international organizations in Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Oceania and Africa, including 23 countries (regions) that have participated in the previous sessions of the expo. A total of 2,192 enterprises attended the expo as exhibitors, increasing by 40% over the last session. Of them, there are Alibaba, Honeywell, Sany Heavy Industry, GAC Group, Shandong Ruyi Group and other more than 100 large-scale enterprises. The number of overseas enterprise exhibitors reached 418, more than twice as much as that at the last session of the expo.
The exhibitors had active communication and negotiations during the expo, leaving a great number of achievements in business and trade. About 200 contracts on projects for cooperation within the autonomous region were signed, with total amount of RMB 241.2 billion. The total volume of domestic trade reached RMB112.64745 billion. The total volume of business concerning foreign economic relations and trade reached USD4.9527 billion, increasing by 2.24% over that (USD4.84416 billion) at the last session. The stands for overseas exhibitors were hard to get, only satisfying less than 50% of the demands, marking that the expo has become more international. Under a circumstance with increasingly intensified pressure from domestic economic downturn and lack of growth of international market, the volume of business through the expo had an increase, which was really a result not easy to get.
Clearly, the exhibitions were improved. The area of custom-built stands accounted for 58% of the net exhibition area. Professional exhibition company was hired to manage the exhibitions. The concept of environment-friendly stand construction was advocated. The decoration of the stands met the standards for domestic large-scale exhibitions. All of those enable the expo to develop toward a top-class expo in China.
During the expo, more than 50 domestic trade and investment promotion activities were held by the local governments of related provinces, cities and prefectures, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and enterprises. A number of letters of intent for cooperation were signed on site. As the guest of honor of the expo, The Republic of Belarus held a series of activities. The Gomel Region of the Republic of Belarus and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region signed a MOU on establishing a relationship as sister regions. China-Britain Business Council and the British Embassy in China held the Xinjiang Seminar on China-Britain Belt and Road Case Studies Report 2016 and the meeting of Britain and Chinese enterprises. Italy held the Symposium on Demands for Technologies for Processing Agricultural Products of Xinjiang.
The number of visits to the pavilions of the 5th China-Eurasia Expo reached 360,158 person-times. The total number of people that visited the pavilions with tickets was 136,282, while the total number of visits to the pavilions with tickets for professional visitors was 12,472 person-times, and the total number of people with such tickets reached 11,064. A total of 109,939 tickets were sold, including 9,939 e-tickets and 100,000 paper tickets. Statistics showed information about 14,293 applicants for tickets for professional visitors, including 7,825 through on-line registration and 6,468 through on-site application.
IV.Wide-range promotion and further expanded influence
Before the expo, the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China held a news briefing on economic and social development of Xinjiang and the 5th China-Eurasia Expo, at which, Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, announced that the 5th China-Eurasia Expo will be held. Then, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the 17th Lanting Forum centering on the 5th China-Eurasia Expo. At the forum, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and Shohrat Zakir respectively made an introduction to the China-Eurasia Expo to the all the circles home and abroad. The Executive Committee of the 5th China-Eurasia Expo held two news briefings before the expo was held to give a brief introduction to the 5th China-Eurasia Expo and the preparations for it. The Secretariat of the China-Eurasia Expo consecutively held a series of activities themed on “Incoming China-Eurasia Expo”, including photo contest, fitness and running activities and on-line flash activities, aiming to rely on the Internet and new media to make the expo widely known among the public. The local government of Urumqi launched city lightening and greening projects to create a joyous, happy and harmonious atmosphere. During the expo, more than 1,400 Chinese and foreign journalists from 47 central media, 33 media outside Xinjiang, 50 media from the autonomous region, 34 media from the prefectures of Xinjiang and 31 overseas media made all-around reports on the preparations for the expo, the opening ceremony and main forum, the meetings of the Chinese and foreign top officials, the high-level forums, themed activities, trade promotion activities and the grand expo itself, creating a good public opinion atmosphere and expanding the influence of the expo home and abroad.
V.A big success thanks to efficient guarantee
Six exhibitions had been held for trial operation of the Phase II project of the Xinjiang International Convention & Exhibition Center was held and full-load tests were conducted to the Phase I and Phase II projects of the center before the 5th China-Eurasia Expo to guarantee the normal operation of the venue during the expo. Related department of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Urumqi made special guarantee measures and emergency response plans concerning security, fire control, water and power supply, food safety, medical services, special equipment and traffic services to guarantee the security and success of the expo. The administrations for civil aviation, railways, roads, customs, industry and commerce, inspection and quarantine and vehicle guarantee as well as hotels made appropriate coordination to provide convenience for the Chinese and foreign dignitaries, guests, exhibitors, purchasers and visitors to attend the expo. In addition, 1,200 volunteers from Xinjiang University, Xinjiang Normal University, Xinjiang University of Finance and Economics and Urumqi Vocational University made great contributions through hard work, showing the hospitality of the people of Xinjiang and the positive spirit of the young people of Xinjiang.