The 4th annual China International Import Expo: A major opportunity for Canadian export enterprises

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There is an amazing opportunity in just a few days, to not only create connections, build on existing relationships and make new deals, but also to begin rebuilding mutual trust between our two countries. On November 5, the 4th annual China International Import Expo (CIIE) will be held in Shanghai – and we would like to invite the export business world, and especially our Canadian friends.

Hosting the CIIE is an important decision that is meant to promote a new round of reopening to the outside world, and we believe, a major move to actively open our markets to the business world. Despite claims to the contrary, China is keen to promote a multilateral trading system that allows for free trade between nations. Without a doubt, it is our goal to promote the construction of an open world economy and to support true economic globalization.

Right now, the world is facing the ravages of the pandemic that has left many economies sluggish and in need of stimulus. We believe the CIIE is a great opportunity to not only kick-start export business but to also show our global intent and responsibility. As a world leader, China is hoping to send a positive signal of its firm support for economic globalization and initiative to open its markets to the world.

As President Xi Jinping recently said, “The CIIE, an event to be held on an annual basis, will feature good performance, good results and continued success in the years to come.” 

After 4 years of development – and the challenges that come from the pandemic – the CIIE has transformed its exhibits to better facilitate the exchange of new and creative ideas, connect China and the world and act as an important platform for international procurement, investment promotion, cultural exchanges and open cooperation.

We anticipate that 80% of the world’s top 500 and industry-leading companies, which participated in the third CIIE, will take part in this event again, and the number of overseas small and medium-sized enterprises participating in the exhibition has increased by 30% year-over-year. 

With eyes on the future, this year’s CIIE is aimed at promoting global economic cooperation in the post-pandemic era. It will focus on global economic governance, sustainable development and China’s practice and experience, and cover important topics including consumption upgrade, industrial revolution, intellectual property, serving as a new high-end dialogue platform for global political, business and academic circles.

We recognize the importance of Canada to China. Our two countries have been connected in business for over 50 years, and Canada is our second-largest export trading partner. In 2020, in a year when Canada’s global exports of goods fell by 11.8% year-over-year, its exports to China increased by 8.1%. We believe this fully demonstrates that our economies are highly complementary and that prospects for Canadian companies’ exports to China are promising.

I see the CIIE as a bridge connecting China with overseas markets and that it will bring Canadian companies three opportunities. First, the CIIE will help them gain a greater presence in China’s market and boost their business growth in China. With a population of more than 1.4 billion, China is home to the world’s largest middle-income group and boasts a huge market and consumption potential. Second, the CIIE will enhance mutual understanding and enable Canadian companies to explore cooperation potential. The CIIE will allow Canadian companies to understand Chinese consumers and markets, as well as let more Chinese investors understand Canada. Third, Canadian enterprises will meet with customers from all over the world at the CIIE, therefore embracing a wider range of business opportunities. In the past three years, some Canadian exhibitors have not only attracted Chinese buyers, but also established business relations with global merchants from the Middle East and South America.

As the largest international economic and trade event held in China, the 4th CIIE will ignite a bright light for the global economy shrouded in the haze of the pandemic and convey the hope of recovery. 

We welcome the active participation of our friends from the Canadian business community – only together will we achieve our individual goals.

Cong Peiwu is the Chinese Ambassador to Canada.