The fifth edition of the China International Import Expo will be held as planned in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10, and preparations for the mega event are in full swing despite challenges like the recent COVID-19 outbreak, officials said on Wednesday.
"The impact of the previous COVID-19 outbreak was only temporary and our confidence to hold another successful expo is undeterred," said Sheng Qiuping, vice-minister of commerce, during an online signing ceremony that dozens of exhibitors took part in along with the CIIE Bureau, the expo organizer.
"The expo organizer will adopt practical measures to help exhibitors overcome any difficulties and the expo preparation work on all fronts is underway as planned," he said.
Sun Chenghai, deputy director-general of the CIIE Bureau, said the total area for enterprise exhibition will be around 360,000 square meters, covering six sectors: agriculture, automobile, equipment, consumer goods, healthcare and services.
So far, 76 percent of the area has been booked, and around 260 companies from the Fortune 500 list and industry pace-setters will be among the exhibitors, Sun said.
The World Openness Report 2022 will be published during the Hongqiao International Economic Forum, which is part of the expo and will be attended by dignitaries and experts from countries around the world, Sun said.
The CIIE will continue to host online country-specific exhibitions as it did last year, which will include overviews of commerce, investment and industry environment in dozens of participating countries.
Luciano Tanto Clement, consul general of Argentina in Shanghai, said the country's participation in the upcoming CIIE will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations between Argentina and China, and also provides an opportunity to strengthen cooperation and dialogue.
"As the biggest international trade fair devoted to promoting imports into China, the CIIE has shown the Chinese desire to foster complementary advantages with the outside world and seek balanced and mutually beneficial trade," said Clement, adding Argentina has been participating in the expo since its launch in 2018.
"The fifth edition of the CIIE will find us once again participating in both the institutional and corporate pavilions, aiming to present a more diversified portfolio of products and services offered to the visitors," he said.
Representatives from more than 30 companies and institutions, including British pharmaceutical group GSK, US company 3M and Japanese trade promotion agency JETRO, signed agreements of partnership at the online ceremony on Tuesday.
Marc-Antoine Jamet, secretary-general of LVMH Group, said in a video speech that the company was glad to continue cooperation with the CIIE, as the expo has been a source of peace, hope and confidence in the future when the world was facing economic difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are always given a magnificent welcome in Shanghai. Even though COVID precautions are necessary, the China International Import Expo is a festive occasion for visitors and exhibitors," said Jamet, who has attended the expo three times in person so far.
Zhou Lan, deputy director of the Shanghai Commerce Commission, said the city government has formed 17 task forces for areas like epidemic prevention, exhibit Customs clearance and personnel reception, to guarantee success organization of the fifth CIIE.
"We are also working on a local legislation to serve the CIIE better, so as to further expand the influence of the expo," Zhou said.