China's import expo yields record-breaking deals, boosts global economy
The just-concluded sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE), the world's first national-level import-themed expo, saw a total of 78.41 billion US dollars' worth of tentative deals reached for one-year purchases of goods and services, setting a record high.
The figure represents an increase of 6.7 percent from that of last year, Sun Chenghai, deputy director of the CIIE Bureau, told a press conference.
Making its first complete return to in-person exhibitions since the onset of COVID-19, the event ran from November 5 to 10 this year, attracting representatives from 154 countries, regions and international organizations. More than 3,400 enterprises from 128 countries and regions took part in the business exhibition, showcasing 442 new products, technologies and services.
The unparalleled amount of contracts inked and the great enthusiasm of international exhibitors demonstrate once again that the CIIE, as a platform for high-level opening-up, as well as an international public good shared by the world, is a strong propeller for global economic growth.
A total of 505 million US dollars' worth of deals were signed by exhibitors participating in the expo's American Food and Agriculture Pavilion, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai).
Hosted by AmCham Shanghai and the US Department of Agriculture, the American Food and Agriculture Pavilion at the sixth CIIE is the first time the US government has participated in the grand event.
A total of 17 exhibitors from the US state governments, agricultural product associations, agricultural exporters, food manufacturers and packaging companies showcased products such as meat, nuts, cheese and wine at the pavilion, covering an area of more than 400 square meters.
"The results of the American Food and Agriculture Pavilion exceeded our expectations," said Eric Zheng, president of AmCham Shanghai. "The CIIE proved to be an important platform to showcase American products and services."
He said that AmCham Shanghai will continue to support American companies in growing their business in China by leveraging this unrivaled import expo. "China's economy is still an important engine for world economic growth. Next year, we plan to bring more US companies and products to the expo," he added.
According to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), a record number of nearly 250 Australian exhibitors attended the CIIE this year. Among them is wine producer Cimicky Estate, which has participated in the CIIE four times.
"This year we've seen lots of businesses, probably more than what we've seen before," said Nigel Sneyd, the company's chief winemaker.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the global economy, and Sneyd is optimistic that the expo could breathe new life into his company's cross-border trade. And Sneyd is not alone in this belief.
In a video posted on the official WeChat account of Austrade, Don Farrell, Australian minister for trade and tourism, called the expo "an opportunity to showcase the best Australia has to offer."
He noted that China is Australia's largest trading partner, accounting for around 300 billion Australian dollars (about 193.2 billion US dollars, or 1.4 trillion yuan) in two-way trade, during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
This figure represents a quarter of Australia's total goods and services exports to the world, with China being Australia's sixth-largest direct investor.
"We're excited to meet Chinese importers and buyers, and for all CIIE attendees to see the premium products we have on offer," said Andrea Myles, senior trade and investment commissioner of Austrade. "'Team Australia' really came together for the roaring return of CIIE this year."
This year's CIIE also provided a chance for many less-developed countries to participate, while offering small players opportunities for growth. According to the CIIE Bureau, the number of overseas-organized small and medium-sized companies at this year's expo was nearly 40 percent up on last year, reaching around 1,500, while more than 10 countries attended the expo for the first time, including Dominica, Honduras and Zimbabwe.
"In the past, it was extremely difficult for small businesses in Afghanistan to find overseas markets for local products," said Ali Faiz from the Biraro Trading Company.
This is the fourth time Faiz has participated in the expo since his first attendance in 2020, when he brought handmade wool carpets, a specialty product of Afghanistan. The expo helped him obtain over 2,000 orders for carpets, providing incomes for more than 2,000 local families for an entire year.
The demand for handmade Afghan carpets in China has continued to increase. Now Faiz needs to replenish his stock twice a month, compared with only once every six months in the past.
"The CIIE provides us with a valuable window of opportunity, so that we can integrate into economic globalization and enjoy its benefits like those in more developed regions," he said.
By building a platform for communication and exchange, the expo offers domestic companies extensive opportunities to establish connections with potential business partners and forge complementary advantages with market players, thereby enhancing their overall competitiveness in the global marketplace.
During this year's CIIE, Befar Group from east China's Shandong Province signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Emerson, a global technology and engineering giant, for smoothening direct procurement channels.
"In the complex and changeable economic situation, participating in the CIIE is a powerful way for domestic enterprises to seek growth amid opening-up and find new business opportunities," said Chen Leilei, general manager of the new-energy business unit at Befar Group.
Despite sluggish global trade since the beginning of the year, China's imports and exports have remained stable, with a growing accumulation of positive factors. Official data released on Tuesday shows that in October, China's imports increased by 6.4 percent year on year. In the first 10 months of 2023, its total imports and exports of goods expanded 0.03 percent year on year, reversing from a decrease of 0.2 percent in the first three quarters.
China has set targets for its total trade in goods and services of over 32 trillion US dollars and 5 trillion US dollars, respectively, in the 2024-2028 period, creating enormous opportunities for the global market.
Registration for the seventh CIIE has begun, with nearly 200 enterprises signing up to participate next year and an exhibition area of more than 100,000 square meters booked in advance, according to the CIIE bureau.
Medtronic, an international company providing medical technology, services and solutions, garnered nearly 40 orders from national and regional-level enterprises and government departments at this year's CIIE. It has already signed up for the next year's exhibition in Shanghai.
"We look forward to working hand in hand with the CIIE in the future to help the high-quality development of China's medical industry and share the unlimited opportunities in China's vast market," said Gu Yushao, senior vice president of Medtronic.