CIIE flexes China’s con­sump­tion power on global stage

Im­port gala not a solo per­for­mance but an in­ter­na­tional cho­rus, com­merce min­is­ter says The CIIE also cre­ates a plat­form for economies that wish to build a sound trade en­vi­ron­ment and be more open to get more in­volved in global gov­er­nance.”

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China - By ZHONG NAN zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

En­sur­ing that their ex­hibits shine at the first China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo in Shang­hai tops the agenda for for­eign ex­ec­u­tives com­ing to the city.

But Jerry Liu, China pres­i­dent of Cargill, has an­other im­por­tant mis­sion. He will sign a con­tract for the US agri­cul­tural con­glom­er­ate to par­tic­i­pate in the next expo.

“The CIIE pro­vides not only a plat­form for multi­na­tional com­pa­nies to show­case their prod­ucts but also a great plat­form for gov­ern­ments, en­ter­prises, in­sti­tu­tions and even con­sumers to con­nect and ex­change ideas,” Liu said.

Cargill is bring­ing a wide range of prod­ucts, in­clud­ing beef, co­coa, choco­late and ed­i­ble oil, to the expo. It is one of the more than 3,000 com­pa­nies from over 130 coun­tries and re­gions keen to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by the world’s first im­port-themed na­tional-level expo, be­ing held this week un­til Satur­day.

Con­crete mea­sure

The CIIE is a con­crete mea­sure by China to pro­mote fur­ther open­ing-up as it trans­forms from be­ing the world’s big­gest ex­porter of goods to an even big­ger buyer.

It will fa­cil­i­tate eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion and trade lib­er­al­iza­tion, and is not a solo per­for­mance by China but a cho­rus by all coun­tries, Min­is­ter of Com­merce Zhong Shan said.

The Min­istry of Com­merce an­nounced on Satur­day that more than 100 new prod­ucts and tech­nolo­gies will de­but dur­ing the event, with some be­ing shown to the world for the first time at the CIIE. Over 3,000 com­pa­nies have signed up to par­tic­i­pate, in­clud­ing more than 200 big names from the For­tune 500 list.

China will im­port $24 tril­lion of goods in the next 15 years, ac­cord­ing to Wang Bing­nan, vice-min­is­ter of com­merce.

The expo shows China’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to open wider to the world, as eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion has suf­fered set­backs, the mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem has been chal­lenged and pro­tec­tion­ism has grad­u­ally risen, said Gao Yan, chair­woman of the China Coun­cil for the Pro­mo­tion of In­ter­na­tional Trade.

Expo for all

As well as of­fer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­pa­nies from G20 coun­tries to fur­ther di­ver­sify mar­ket channels in China, the CIIE is also wel­com­ing more than 30 of the world’s 44 least­de­vel­oped coun­tries.

“Global com­pa­nies have been keen to fur­ther dig into the mar­ket po­ten­tial in China at the next level, as the coun­try will con­tinue to be the world’s largest con­sump­tion power for many prod­ucts, com­modi­ties and ser­vices, such as grain, in­dus­trial goods and health­care so­lu­tions, for its on­go­ing con­sump­tion up­grad­ing,” said Chen Wen­ling, chief econ­o­mist at the China Cen­ter for Eco­nomic Ex­changes.

Ac­cord­ing to reg­is­tra­tion data, about 5,000 ex­hibits at the expo are be­ing shown in China for the first time.

Con­sumers and com­pa­nies will be able to ex­pe­ri­ence global qual­ity and bar­gain prices with­out go­ing abroad, fully en­joy the ben­e­fits of glob­al­iza­tion, and bet­ter meet the need to up­grade do­mes­tic con­sump­tion and pro­mote high-qual­ity eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in China, said Vice-Min­is­ter of Com­merce Fu Ziy­ing.

“The CIIE also cre­ates a plat­form for economies that wish to build a sound trade en­vi­ron­ment and be more open to get more in­volved in global gov­er­nance, as the expo is held when the global econ­omy faces down­ward pres­sure on for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment af­fected by pro­tec­tion­ism and uni­lat­er­al­ism,” said Yu Jian­long, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the China Cham­ber of In­ter­na­tional Com­merce.

Busi­ness lead­ers said China’s grow­ing de­mand for im­ported prod­ucts and ser­vices will pro­vide a his­toric op­por­tu­nity for global com­pa­nies to en­ter its mas­sive mar­ket for the long run.

Timely event

The expo is timely in the cur­rent global trade con­text, said Lin Wei, KPMG part­ner in China, as it aims to dis­pel the stereo­type that China will con­tinue to be an ex­port-driven econ­omy. In­stead it will foster free trade and global col­lab­o­ra­tion and mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism, and counter some of the uni­lat­er­al­ism that has been wit­nessed and the pro­tec­tion­ist trade bar­ri­ers that have been erected, Lin said.

“Many for­eign com­pa­nies also hope they will 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 fur­ther into lower-tier cities and countylevel mar­kets, as well as mar­kets re­lated to the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive,” Lin said.

He said China’s econ­omy is evolv­ing away from an ex­port­driven model. The coun­try has wit­nessed a steady in­crease in im­ports, es­pe­cially those that are high-tech or en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and con­sumer prod­ucts from global mar­kets, as well as mea­sures to ad­dress trade sur­pluses with other coun­tries and re­gions, and the CIIE is a strong sign of that.

Celina Chew, pres­i­dent of Bayer Group (China), said the CIIE will serve as a plat­form for China to boost the qual­ity of global trade and re­struc­ture do­mes­tic in­dus­tries to make the coun­try a more com­pet­i­tive and friendly mar­ket.

LI MIN / CHINA DAILY

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