Dozens attended a rehearsal in Shanghai for the first of China's APEC (Asian-Pacific Economic Co-operation) 2001 meetings to make sure the important trade talks go off perfectly.
More than 100 volunteers from foreign trade companies, hotels, the media, airports and various government offices took part in the rehearsal in preparation for the APEC MRT (Ministers Responsible for Trade) meeting, scheduled for June 6-7.
"The rehearsal is to gauge the training of 30 local liaison officers who will work for the APEC ministers during the meeting," explained He Ning, director-general of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs under China's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation.
The 30 liaison officers were selected from foreign trade businesses, meeting services companies and other enterprises related to reception services in the city. Their average age is less than 25.
"They are energetic and excellent young people," said Chen Zhangyuan, director of the 2001 APEC Meeting Shanghai Preparatory Office's human resources department.
According to Chen, the liaison officers were selected because of their excellent work records and the crucial roles they had played in their companies. Each is proficient in at least one foreign language. All of them also have expertise in computer science.
"After a series of training programmes, the liaisons are equipped with lots of knowledge about State guest receptions. The rehearsal is to help them put their knowledge into practice," Chen said.
The Shanghai Preparatory Office invited senior officers from the Municipal Foreign Affairs Office and the Foreign Economic Relations & Trade Commission to act as ministers in the rehearsal.
The practice meeting started at 8 am in the Shanghai Preparatory Office. The liaison officers were required to leave from the office to Hongqiao Airport and Pudong International Airport to greet the "ministers" and escort them to their hotels. Then they led the "ministers" to various convention venues.
During the rehearsal, the "ministers" challenged the liaison officers by changing meeting schedules and making extra arrangements for after meetings.
The rehearsal ended at 5 o'clock in the afternoon.
"Shanghai is honoured to host the APEC meeting. It is a precious chance for the city to develop itself," said Zhu Xiaoming, director of Shanghai Municipal Foreign Economic Relation & Trade Commission. "The rehearsal is only the beginning."
(China Daily 05/23/2001)