(Yicai Global) Sept. 6 -- The affluent eastern province of Jiangsu aims to boost its already high foreign trade volumes at the first China International Import Expo, which will take place this November.
The province, which neighbors the host city of Shanghai, aims to leverage the event as a means to bolsters its local economic restructuring efforts, said Zhou Changqing, deputy director-general of the provincial commerce department.
"CIIE is basically our home event," Zhou said, referencing Jiangsu's close proximity to Shanghai.
In fact, Jiangsu started preparations for the event over two months ago. After establishing a provincial trade delegation, it also set up 16 sub-trade delegations in accordance with administrative regions, provincially owned companies and economic development zones.
At least 10,000 companies and institutions from Jiangsu have applied to take part, the most of any province nationwide, the principal of the secretariat of the Jiangsu trade delegation said. The main delegation will also organize 6,000 key import companies and trade circulation companies to conduct procurement activities at CIIE.
Some 278 provincial firms plan to purchase commodities worth over CNY1 billion over the next five years according to data from Jiangsu companies that have applied to take part. Some 1,416 companies would like to purchase commodities worth between CNY100 million (USD15 million) to CNY1 billion.
"Aside from fully supporting Shanghai for this event, we also hope to spread Jiangsu's influence worldwide and in the meantime, boost our economic restructuring through CIIE," Zhou told Yicai Global.
Previously, the economic development of Jiangsu was mostly driven by investments and overseas market demands. Jiangsu's foreign trade volume exceeded CNY4 trillion for the first time last year.
However, trade conflicts have impacted this province's foreign market demands to some extent. On the other hand, Jiangsu has seen shortages in production resources like land, especially in the south. Therefore, it needs to speed up economic restructuring, which involves both the driving economic development as well as upgrading industry.
Zhou said that Jiangsu previously adhered to the model of introducing foreign capital and selling commodities abroad, whereas now it needs to introduce foreign commodities but also encourage the overseas development of local capital.
Through CIIE, Jiangsu can reach more mutually beneficial investment cooperation agreements that cover both local enterprises' overseas development and international enterprises' operations in this province. "Given this fact, CIIE will play an active role in both our industrial development and market opening up."
To give play to the spillover effect of CIIE, the principal of the secretariat to the trade delegation told Yicai Global that Jiangsu will also organize three high-level supporting activities during the event, namely the International Cooperation Forum on Intelligent Technologies and Industries, the China-Singapore Cooperation Service Trade Innovation Forum, as well as the Cross-border E-commerce Imported Products Procurement Fair. Imports will cover high-end manufacturing while retailers will introduce blockchain technologies.
Importers can act as a stimulus for Chinese enterprises' own competitiveness, Zhou said. "We cannot develop a powerful industry only through protecting our own players, and only by supporting more extensive competitions within a rational legal range can we better develop our present industries."
Zhou encourages these Jiangsu-based enterprises to "have a look at CIIE and see whether they buy anything or not", so as to learn how these foreign enterprises, especially those from developed countries, improve their production, branding, quality, and social services. Accordingly, these Chinese enterprises can then build up competitiveness and offer more power to Jiangsu's economic transition and upgrading. He encourages provincial participants to continue to introduce advanced intelligent equipment, act as initiative practitioners of industrial upgrading and self-improvement, and to join the international stage.
State-owned foreign trade company Jiangsu Sainty Corp is one such participant from the province. Gao Hong, the firm's deputy general manager told Yicai Global that Sainty expects to sign import agreements worth more than CNY50 million at the expo covering the intelligent and high-end equipment and medical apparatus fields.
Retail giant Suning.com, headquartered in the provincial capital of Nanjing, will also will pursue global procurement related to new technologies like blockchain. "We will introduce at least 1,000 imported products on our e-commerce platforms this year thanks to CIIE, " said Suning Retail Group Vice-President Wang Zhe.
"CIIE is a good chance for Suning.com, where we will communicate with various quality global brands, we will act as a bridge between brands and Chinese consumers."
Editor: William Clegg