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A trade extravaganza with benefits for all parties

By Zhong Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-01 07:42
A worker sets up a huge poster for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai on Sept 24. [Photo by Xing Yi/China Daily]

Industry insiders, officials weigh in on the significance of the second edition of the CIIE

The second China International Import Expo will not only provide easier access for global companies to the Chinese market but also function as a platform for economies to be more involved in free trade and global governance, said officials and business leaders.

The event this year, which is set to be larger in scale and better in quality than its inaugural version last year, will inject new vitality and impetus to China's further reforms and opening-up, said Wang Bingnan, the vice-minister of commerce.

As a large-scale global platform, the trade fair will demonstrate China's determination to deepen its economic globalization, noting how the first and second editions take place with a backdrop defined by downward pressure on foreign direct investment and trade flows affected by protectionism, said Wei Jianguo, vice-president of the Beijing-based China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

According to the China International Import Expo Bureau, the organizer of the CIIE, many exhibitors from the first edition have signed up for the event this year, with more than 3,000 companies from over 150 countries and regions confirming their attendance by the close of registration in May. The second CIIE will be held from Nov 5 to 10 in Shanghai.

The organizer also announced earlier in September that there will be more than 250 Fortune 500 companies attending the second CIIE, and that the exhibition area has been expanded to more than 300,000 square meters.

Tang Wenhong, director-general of the Department of Foreign Investment Administration in the Ministry of Commerce, highlighted that the increase in size for this year's trade fair as well as the growing enthusiasm for the event indicate that the Chinese market is a key part of the global economy and that the country's purchasing power is becoming more important to global businesses.

The second CIIE will be a bridge that connects multinationals and the huge potential in the China market, and further encourages foreign direct investment (FDI), said Wang Jian, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics. The latest statistics from the Ministry of Commerce show that China is still an attractive destination for such investments-FDI expanded by 6.9 percent year-on-year to 604 billion yuan ($84.88 billion) in the first eight months of this year.

Chen Dongqi, an economist with the Academy of Macroeconomic Research at the National Development and Reform Commission, noted that the CIIE will also help to dispel the stereotype that China will continue to be an export-driven economy.

"Instead, the CIIE will foster free trade, global collaboration and multilateralism, and counter unilateral actions," he said.

"Many foreign companies have expressed hope that they can have better exposure in China and find more partners to help them distribute their products and services, not only in top-tier cities but also in lower-tier cities, county-level markets, and markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative," added Feng Yaoxiang, director of the investment promotion division at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

One of the foreign companies that has lauded the CIIE as a clear demonstration of China's determination to support trade liberalization and economic globalization is Porsche China.

The German carmaker said that it will be bringing its first electric sports car-the Taycan-as well as other hybrid electromobility models to the expo this year. Porsche delivered 42,608 vehicles in China in the first half of 2019, a year-on-year increase of 28 percent, leading the rest of the global market, according to Jens Puttfarcken, president and CEO of Porsche China.

"We were privileged to participate in the first CIIE last year, and will continue our presence at this year's expo. We are looking forward to growing together with the Chinese economy in this new round of high-level reform and opening-up," said Puttfarcken.

Another company that shares the same sentiment is Cargill China.

Owen Ma, the vice-president of Cargill China, said that the US agricultural group will double its booth area to 200 square meters this year following a successful outing last year. In addition, the company's global CEO will be attending this year's event to engage with stakeholders.

"As a highly influential event, the second CIIE provides a great opportunity for Cargill to connect with key stakeholders and demonstrate our commitment to China," said Ma, noting the event would provide key support to Cargill's future business growth in China.

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