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China Opens New Front in Trade War with Exhibition for Importers


While exports have been king in China during its decades-long economic expansion, a massive new trade show in Shanghai kicked off Nov. 5-10 as a showcase for overseas importers looking for opportunities in the often-stubborn Chinese market.

The China International Import Expo (CIIE) was announced just last spring by President Xi Jinping in the midst of a disconcerting round of new U.S. tariffs on Chinese products and tough talk on international trade from the Trump administration. The show, which features sellers of a wide range of imported goods and services, was described by the organizers as “a significant move for the Chinese government” to open its domestic market to the world.

“In the next five years, China is expected to import over $10 trillion in goods and services, which means a historic opportunity for enterprises across the globe to expand their business in the market of China,” the announcement said.

The CIIE opened the day after the fall edition of the semi-annual China Import and Export Fair, commonly known as the Canton Fair, closed on a seemingly disappointing note. Although the fair’s metrics remained steady compared to last year’s, organizers told Reuters that orders placed by U.S. companies for Chinese exports were off more than 30.0%.

Xi delivered the opening keynote at the CIIE, calling it “the world’s first import expo held at the national level.”

“It demonstrates China’s consistent position of supporting the multilateral trading system and promoting free trade,” said Xi. “It is a concrete action by China to advance an open world economy and support economic globalization.”

While the early metrics for the CIIE were not immediately available, the China International Import Expo Bureau and National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (NECC) projected 150,000 attendees for the exhibition along with exhibitors from 172 nations and regions. The NECC features 500,000 square meters (5,381,955 square feet) of total indoor and outdoor exhibit space.

Reach CIIE show management at 021-67008888 or

TSE Data Center