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Shanghai ready to host guests

Wang Zhenghua
Updated: Nov 2,2018 9:35 AM     China Daily

Horticulture workers decorate the southern square of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the host venue of the upcoming CIIE, with pots of flowers on Oct 28. [Photo/China Daily]

From the revamp of landscape lighting along a 20-kilometer section of the Huangpu River, to the training of 5,000 volunteers ready to greet the crowds, Shanghai is ready to impress the world with the inaugural China International Import Expo.

With the slogan New Era, Shared Future, the world’s first import-themed national-level expo is scheduled to open on Nov 5.

The event is set to gather more than 3,000 exhibitors from over 130 countries, as well as political dignitaries, business leaders and heads of international organizations from around 150 countries and regions.

“We are ready to work with all relevant parties and make concerted efforts to ensure the first China International Import Expo is a great success and a first-class international event,” Vice-Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying told a news conference in Beijing earlier this week.

Running at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) until Nov 10, the CIIE is foremost an exhibition to strengthen business ties and provide foreign companies wider access to the immense Chinese market.

The latest figures from the Ministry of Commerce show that a total of 82 countries and three international organizations will showcase their economic and trade achievements as well as featured products in a combined exhibition area of 30,000 square meters at the Country Pavilion for Trade and Investment at the expo.

Twelve guest of honor countries will have their own characteristic pavilions, including the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Canada, South Africa and Pakistan.

“The UK is very excited about the possibilities the CIIE presents,” said James Sassoon, chairman of the China-Britain Business Council, during an interview with the CIIE Bureau.

“So it has very good commitment from the government and business. And it’s because we want to show off the best we have, whether it’s in automotive, tourism, healthcare or creative industry, there is so much that the UK has to present right across the board,” he said.

At the Enterprise and Business Exhibition, a long list of Fortune Global 500 businesses, among other overseas companies, will show off their eye-catching new products and state-of-the-art technologies over a total booth area of 270,000 sq m.

The area, already expanded twice from the original plans, will be equivalent to the size of 38 football pitches and can house more than 160,000 domestic and international buyers.

“CIIE, with strong support from the top Chinese leadership, will be a unique platform to guarantee a more open environment for international participation in China’s economic growth by importing more of the latest technologies and ideas,” said Kjeld Stark, president of Danfoss China.

Danish multinational Danfoss Group is a global leader in providing green solutions for the climate, energy, food and infrastructure sectors.

“CIIE is a good indicator that China will accelerate its development by adopting Western technologies at a faster pace. This gives us more confidence in China’s economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bayer’s exhibits at CIIE will focus on health and nutrition, showcasing some of the German multinational company’s latest research results and development concepts in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, crop science and animal health businesses.

“CIIE is a signature event for the Chinese government that highlights and supports China’s policy and aim of further opening-up to the world,” said Celina Chew, president of Bayer Group China.

“We expect to meet representatives of many diverse and exciting countries, companies, businesses and organizations with an interest in China, and look forward to exchanging ideas and finding opportunities for collaboration,” she said.

More than an exhibition

Besides bustling business exchanges, the expo will serve as a platform for strengthening partnership in international free trade, while acting as a confidence booster for economic globalization and a countermeasure against protectionism.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, the expo will feature a forum on the global economy and trade, with a star-studded lineup to provide their thoughts on shared prosperity.

The Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum, with the theme “spurring new vitality of global trade, creating an open and win-win scenario”, will be attended by over 2,000 government officials, international organization leaders, renowned entrepreneurs and academics from over 130 countries and regions.

Speakers and panelists will include Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Microsoft co-founder and TerraPower Chairman Bill Gates, and Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The forum’s three parallel sessions, focusing on trade and opening-up, trade and innovation, and trade and investment, respectively, will discuss major issues such as the new impetus for economic globalization, and the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.

With only three days to go before the most significant event to follow the 2010 World Expo, Shanghai has been fine-tuning preparations for the upcoming import expo and is ready to welcome guests from across the world.

Publicity covering the CIIE can be seen in almost every corner of the financial metropolis, and the new look Shanghai has put on for the expo has become the talk of the town.

Light decorations have been added to a 20-km stretch of the city’s signature Huangpu River, as well as four bridges that span it. Hundreds of thousands of pots of flowers now adorn the city.

Shanghai has also trained 5,000 volunteers, who will offer various services including translation. At Shanghai Pudong International Airport, round-the-clock foreign language translation services have been put in place since late September.

“More than 20 volunteers who can speak a total of 12 foreign languages, including English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Russian, French, Arabian and Italian, are ready to offer help to our foreign visitors,” said Shi Zhiying from the service center team at Pudong airport.

To ease road traffic congestion and ensure the smooth running of the expo, the municipal government has announced plans to move two working days.

The first two days of the expo, Nov 5 and 6, have been designated public holidays, with Nov 3 and 11 set as working days to compensate.

Shanghai residents said they are looking forward to the positive changes that the event is expected to bring.

“Many foreign brands have entered China for the first time at the expo, and that is a good business opportunity,” said Yang Xiaolan, a student at Shanghai International Studies University. “I hope the expo can create more jobs for Shanghai and the whole country.”

Wu Yanwen, a senior student at Tongji University, said: “With CIIE, Shanghai residents will be exposed to more imported items, thus having a wider choice of quality products. I also hope more people can learn more about Shanghai and Chinese culture, and how we are marching toward the ‘Chinese dream’.”