(Yicai Global) June 27 -- This year’s China International Import Expo (CIIE) will take on even greater significance for world trade as many of the foreign companies adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be keen on bouncing back, said Singapore Business Federation (SBF) CEO Ho Meng Kit.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put the world on an unprecedented pause in a bid to contain the spread of the disease. The domino effect caused by the lockdown of cities, production shutdowns, restriction of movement and supply chain disruptions has been felt by almost all economies,” Ho said.
“The situation remains fluid with growing concerns that the damage to the global economy will be long and protracted. Our hope is that through global cooperation, the world can fight and win this battle. Post-COVID, I believe the CIIE will grow to be an even more important platform to revive production and consumption and inject much needed momentum in the economy.”
This year’s CIIE will take place from Nov 5 to 10 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, preparations for the event have been not been hampered. Much of the coordination is taking place through non-contact means such as video conferences, phone calls and emails.
The pandemic has not dampened enthusiasm for the expo either. The CIIE bureau said more than 90 percent of the planned business exhibition area has been reserved by exhibitors.
Ho said that Singapore enterprises will once again have a considerable presence at this year’s expo. The SBF will be securing a 1,600-square-meter exhibition area to showcase the nation’s exports.
He noted the SBF had signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the CIIE Bureau even before the 2019 edition of the CIIE ended, expressing its intent to be a part of this year’s expo.
Since the inaugural edition of the CIIE in 2018, the SBF has been the organization appointed by the Singapore Government to lead the participation of Singapore companies at the expo.
“In the past two years, SBF has led more than 160 Singapore companies to participate in the CIIE. Singapore exhibitors had also inked 39 MoUs with a value of approximately SGD$412 million (US$295.57 million) at the tailored business-matching sessions,” said Ho.
“We are confident that the CIIE will remain one of the best platforms for Singapore companies to showcase their services and products to the Chinese market and beyond.”
Singapore has enjoyed a strong trading relationship with China over the years. Since 2013, China has been Singapore’s largest trading partner, and Singapore has been China’s largest foreign investor, according to SBF.
Statistics by the Singapore government showed the Southeast Asian nation exported some SGD$21 billion worth of goods and services to China in 2018, a four-fold increase compared to 2014.
Ho said Singapore’s top exports to China include machinery and electronics equipment, chemicals and consumer goods.
“Today, as our collaboration continues to evolve, more Singapore companies are venturing into the services sectors in China. Singapore companies’ strong expertise in food, healthcare, education and environmental services complements China’s growing demand for a higher quality of living and enhanced amenities,” said Ho.
The reason why Singapore companies are eager to attend the CIIE again is because the event has been an ideal platform for them to expand their market share and network in China, as well as gain insights into the demands of Chinese buyers, distributors and partners, Ho explained.
He pointed out that the Singapore enterprises which have benefitted from the CIIE are not just limited to major corporations. Even SMEs such as Foodie Drools, The Ballet & Music Company, Prestige Accounting, Four Seasons Durians and Active Lifestyle have reaped the rewards of participating in the expo.
Away from the import-export front, China and Singapore have also been working closely on a host of projects, said Ho.
The latest partnerships between the two nations include projects related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the government-to-government project known as the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI).
“Bilateral trade relations have also deepened with the upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) which was concluded in November 2018. This agreement opened up new possibilities for cooperation in the fields of finance, e-commerce, technology, culture, legal and the environment. This enhanced bilateral trade and investment while jointly building up the ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road’,” said Ho.
The SBF also expressed its confidence in the Chinese economy’s ability to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the swift and decisive measures taken to contain the outbreak have mitigated its negative impact.
Ho pointed out that the signs have been promising, referring to how China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) in March was at 52, up from an all-time low of 35.7 in February. The country’s non-manufacturing PMI, which covers construction and services sectors, also recovered to 52.3. A reading of 50 and above is an indication of expansion in the PMI.
“Today, China is sending medical aid, including essential supplies to countries around the world as they battle the pandemic,” said Ho.“I think all eyes are on China and its eventual economic rebound. How strong the rebound is and how the economy fares could be a crucial turning point not just for China but also the world.”
With two editions successfully held since 2018, China International Import Expo (CIIE) serves as the platform for international procurement, investment promotion, cultural exchange, as well as opening-up and cooperation. The third edition of CIIE will take place in Shanghai from November 5th to 10th. Thousands of companies, which are leading players in their industries, will gather at the expo to showcase their products and services, and seek business opportunities with global buyers.
At CIIE, participants can both purchase a wide range of products from the world and can also sell their products to the world. CIIE helps drive investment both inward and outward and contributes to maintaining a stable global supply chain.
Starting from June 24, professional visitors around the world can log into the CIIE website (www.ciie.org) and locate Business Exhibition - Buyer - Registration to sign up for the event. CIIE welcomes global buyers to join the upcoming event and to share opportunities presented by China’s further opening up.