CIIE: An expo beyond an expo

By He Shuquan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 5, 2019
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Volunteers pose for a photo at the south square of the National Exhibition and Convention Center, the main venue for the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), in Shanghai, Nov. 4, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Second China International Import Expo (CIIE) has raised its curtain, and the world is focusing on Shanghai once again. Compared to the first CIIE last year, this second event is larger in scale and product range. It will showcase more new products, technologies and content in various forms, which has attracted the participation of more enterprises. 

What makes the CIIE so attractive? The answer lies in that it is an expo beyond an expo. The CIIE, which includes business exhibition, country exhibition, international economic forum and supporting activities, is a major initiative of China to open its market to the world. It aims to become an important platform for countries to work together to develop and deepen cooperation and for enterprises to develop their businesses.

First, it is an important window to learn more about China's future efforts to optimize its business environment and deepen its process of opening up. A year ago, China made a commitment to further opening its market to the world and the past year has witnessed the realization of these commitments. China released its 2019 Negative List in June 2019, which is much shorter than its 2018 version. It also set up six more Free Trade Zones in August 2019. In addition, several new laws and regulations regarding foreign investment, the business environment and e-business have been passed and implemented. In October, the newly-revised regulations on the administration of foreign insurance companies and the administration of foreign banks resulted in the further relaxing of access conditions for foreign banks and insurance companies. 

An aerial photo of the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai on Oct. 16, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Second, the "never close" and "6+365" model ensures a spillover effect. With the world's largest population, China has become the second largest economy, as well as the second largest importer and consumer in the world. It provides a huge market and numerous business opportunities for international companies. The CIIE benefits enterprises not only through their business transactions but also helps in their business future by providing a "never close" and "6+365" one-stop trading services platform. With links to the Free Trade Zones and other national strategies, the CIIE is not a stand-alone event. The Shanghai Free Trade Zone has been recently expanded not only in its size but also in its functions, which will facilitate CIIE to achieve spillover effects. The Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center is one of the permanent trading platforms where bonded exhibition, transaction, logistics and storage services are all available. As a major platform that demonstrates and expands on the spillover effects of the CIIE, it is positioned as a distribution center for imported goods that connects the Yangtze River Delta, serves the whole nation, and even radiates across the Asia-Pacific region.

Jungheinrich AG, a leading intra-logistics solutions provider based in Germany, participated in the first CIIE and is now focusing very strongly on China. It is investing a lot of money into its operations there, has set up its own factory and established cooperation with Chinese companies in order to continue to grow with new products in the market. At the first CIIE, Jungheinrich exhibited a broad range of material-handling equipment, and this year, it will focus more on automatic systems, like its new STC stacker crane for automated mini-load warehouses. 

Elekta, a Swedish company that provides cancer-care devices and solutions is another beneficiary of the CIIE's spillover effects. The company has received dozens of orders at the first CIIE and many of its products have been deployed at hospitals. Only three months after it debuted its latest self-adaptive accurate stereotactic radiosurgery treatment system at the first CIIE, the system was officially deployed at the Shanghai Gamma Knife Hospital. The Swedish company established Elekta (China) Investment Co. Ltd. at the end of 2018 with the number of its employees in China exceeding that at its headquarters in Sweden, and its R&D personnel in China now accounts for about half of the company's total in the world.

Third, the Hongqiao International Economic Forum will also offer a high-end dialogue platform for global political, business and academic communities to put forward suggestions on improving and transforming the global economic governance system. With the theme "Opening-up and Innovation for Win-win Cooperation," the forum will attract over 4,000 representatives from around the world to put forward suggestions on how to better promote sustainable and healthy economic development, create a better business environment for enterprises, and benefit more people. The CIIE has sent an important message that imports are as important as exports, reminding us that trade is not a zero-sum game. In a world where added value is globally linked and economy and trade are being transformed by the modern industrial revolution and technological progress, it is even more vital for all countries to work together to build a better world. 

China has been ramping up efforts to optimize its business environment to ensure entrepreneurs and innovators can compete in a fair environment based on market rules. With its aim of creating a higher quality and better exhibition as well as of stimulating more innovation, the second CIIE has been improved through its service, reputation and achievements, thereby increasing its spillover effects. The CIIE will bring benefits to both producers and consumers, countries and businesses, and eventually to China and the world.

He Shuquan is a professor from School of Economics, Shanghai University.

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