Planning begins for premier trade expo

Shanghai is undertaking efforts in preparation for the first CIIE including steps to attract global exhibitors and investors and to improve business environment.

Shanghai is undertaking concerted efforts for success as it prepares to host the first China International Import Expo, which is shaping up to be the city’s biggest event since Expo 2010.

The event, to be held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai from November 5-10, was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping a year ago. He called it "a major policy initiative and commitment to open up the Chinese market."

Preparations include steps to attract global exhibitors and investors, and to improve the city's business environment.

Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang said last week that preparations for the import expo have entered an active stage, where no effort will be spared to make it a successful event.

The China International Import Expo Bureau has officially signed agreements with companies wishing to participate in the event. At the most recent signing ceremony on April 28, 25 major companies, including seven from the Fortune Global 500 list, added their names to the expo program.

That brought to nearly 1,100 companies the number pledged to participate.

"We think the import expo is a good opportunity for us to showcase more of our products to Chinese consumers,” said Zeng Xiwen, vice president of Unilever North Asia.

Although Unilever boasts more than 400 brands throughout the world, only about 30 brands have entered the Chinese market, leaving a huge market gap, Zeng said.

He also expressed the company’s hope that cosmetics made by Unilever will receive the same treatment as domestic cosmetics in testing procedures.

Tesla Motors said it will bring its Model S and Model X, and a new Model 3 to be released soon to the expo.

China is the second most important market for Tesla after the US, and is a significant market for all the new energy automobiles, said Zhu Xiaotong, managing director of Tesla China.

"The Chinese market sees an annual increase of 30 million motor vehicles, which attracts new energy auto companies, foreign-funded auto companies and also Tesla to come and expand trade and markets," Zhu said.

Unlike cosmetics products, China treats domestic and imported green vehicles equally in regulatory procedures.

As of late April, 61 countries had officially confirmed they will participate in the expo, according to Gao Feng, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce.

Shanghai will actively offer "multimode and multichannel services" for foreign businesses to enter Chinese markets and to develop the city into a hub for the distribution of imported goods across China and Asia, said Party Secretary Li.

Shanghai has set up a one-stop, year-round platform that will feature import exhibits, including those from the six-day expo.

Yang Jianrong, chairman of the Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai, said the service platform will promote global trade and enable the world’s top products and services to sell their products.

"It will strongly push forward the process of trade globalization," Yang said.

Also, the city is strengthening its links with other cities in the Yangtze River Delta region to ensure that the spillover effects from the expo will benefit a wider area, according to Li.

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