China readies for first import expo

Painting of Skyscrapers in Shanghai China

October 23, 2018 - China will be holding it's first international import expo in Shanghai between November 5 and 10.

Announced at the May 2017 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing by President Xi Jinping, the expo is part of an attempt to shift the nation's trade strategy from export promotion and trade surpluses to “balanced trade.” In the next five years, China is expecting to import over $10 trillion in products and services. In particular, the strategy aims to obtain high technology equipment to develop high technology industries and a sophisticated service sector in China, and to supply consumption goods and services such as food, tourism and education to meet the demands of China’s growing middle class.

The expo will be held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the world's largest single block building and exhibition complex with a total construction area of nearly 1.5 million square meters. Facilities include exhibition halls, a commercial plaza, office buildings and a hotel. The four facilities are linked together by an eight-meter-high elevated Exhibition Boulevard to facilitate pedestrian access around the Center.

China expects 2,800 companies from over 130 countries, including 50 along the Belt and Road, to showcase products to 160,000 domestic and international buyers. 

China has been the world's second largest importer of goods for nine consecutive years and made up 10.2 percent of global imports in 2017. It has announced import tariff cuts on 1,585 industrial products including machinery, spare parts and raw materials from November 1, reports Xinhua, and has removed or reduced tariffs on medicines, autos and consumer products earlier this year.

China has granted "Guest of Honor" status to 12 countries: Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Vietnam and the U.K.

Attending companies include more than 200 businesses on the Fortune Global 500 list as well as smaller companies such as fruit exporters in Southeast Asia and coffee makers in South America. Also planned to attend is U.S. chip manufacturers Qualcomm and Intel, Japanese electronics manufacturers Sony and Panasonic, consumer goods manufacturer Unilever and Lego.

Exhibitors are expected to launch more than 100 new products and technologies at the event. The largest item on display will be a 200 ton milling machine from German manufacturer Waldrich Coburg.

In preparation for the expo, Shanghai has set up a special legal center and a center to deal with disputes concerning intellectual property rights.

Shanghai is China's industrial and commercial hub, and Shanghai port has handled the most containers worldwide for seven consecutive years.

Source: The Maritime Executive