China International Import Expo 2018: What Should Foreign Businesses Expect

Posted by Written by Dorcas Wong Reading Time: 4 minutes


The first ever China International Import Expo (CIIE), will be held next week from November 5-10, 2018 at the National Convention & Exhibition Centre in Shanghai.

The Expo will focus on imports to China in a significant display of China’s eagerness to narrow trade gaps and dispel perceptions of being a nation over reliant on exports. The latter has played a key role in triggering the current trade war with the US.

Prominent exhibitors at the Expo include big household names – Sony, Samsung, Foxconn, Intel, General Motors, BMW, Tesla, Facebook, and Google, as well as many smaller rising players.

Under the theme of ‘New Era, Shared Future’ the Expo aims to strengthen economic cooperation and trade, while promoting global trade and world economic growth.

Scope of the Expo: Why does it matter to China

The Expo is expected to consist of over 150,000 professional buyers, 2,800 foreign company exhibitors, 300 onsite events and 130 countries – and is poised to be China’s largest trade expo to date.

The six-day event, co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and Shanghai Municipal Government, will also feature a much-anticipated keynote speech by President Xi during the opening ceremony.

As market confidence in the world’s second largest economy continues to dwindle – all eyes are on this expo to see if it can rebuild confidence and display a convincing message of ‘internationalism.’

Lorena Miera Ruiz, Associate at Dezan Shira & Associates’ International Business Advisory’s Department comments that “amidst the US-China trade war, the CIIE is a chance for China to consolidate its position as a main trading partner for countries all over the world.”

Lorena also notes that “this will give foreign companies in the food and beverage industry an opportunity to capitalize on the growing middle-class Chinese consumer who continue to turn to international companies for high quality assurance and brand recognition.”

Daisy Zang, Manager of Dezan Shira & Associates’ Asian Outbound Investment states that “this forum will provide opportunities beyond the expected import-export partnerships such as joint ventures and partnerships.”

Maria Kotova, Head of Dezan Shira & Associates’ North American Business Development, sees “clear connections between CIIE and Xi Jinping’s very own Belt and Road Initiative in that they both share the vision of expanding global trade infrastructure” and is interested to see how this will be presented at the One Belt One Road Forums she will be attending.

The Expo will be divided into different categories, which we briefly spotlight below.

Country Pavilion for Trade & Investment

The Country Pavilion for Trade & Investment will host government officials and bodies from each respective nation – showcasing their products and services to showcase their trade and investment development as well as representative products with distinct regional characteristics.

Enterprise & Business Exhibition

The enterprise & business exhibition will consist of seven sections broken into the following industry groups:

  • Trade in services;
  • Automobiles;
  • High-end intelligent equipment;
  • Consumer electronics & appliances;
  • Apparel accessories & consumer goods;
  • Medical equipment & health care; and
  • Food & agricultural products

See here for the Business Exhibition Floor Plan and the full Business Exhibitor List.

Hongqiao International Economic & Trade Forum

The Hongqiao International Economic & Trade Forum will have three parallel forums focusing on China’s opening up, innovation, and investment.

It will host political leaders, business people, scholars, and members of the international media – providing a platform to discuss topical issues concerning international trade.

See here for the Economic and Trade Forum Agenda and the Speaker and Panelists list.

Other on-site supporting events

Aside from these three official categories, the Expo will host an additional 300 on-site supporting events touching on topics related to policy interpretations, release activities, matchmaking and signing events, and country promotions.

See here for the on-site event agenda – list 1, list 2 and list 3.

Dezan Shira & Associates involvement in events supporting CIIE

  • October 31, 2018: Huangpu District Government Event – Promoting trade and investment opportunities in support of CIIE. Lorena Miera Ruiz, Associate at Dezan Shira & Associates’ International Business Advisory attended.
  • November 5, 2018: Confederação da Agricultura e Pecuária do Brasil (CNA), Agropecuarian Confederation of Brazil – An event hosting a delegation of 50 Brazillian companies. Riccardo Benussi, Deputy Regional Manager at Dezan Shira and Associates’ Shanghai Office will give a presentation on China’s business and regulatory environment.
  • November 6, 2018: United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements resulting from Mediation and Opening-up Forum. Qian Zhou, Senior Associate at Dezan Shira & Associates’ Legal Research & Publications department will attend.
  • November 7, 2018: (CIIE on-site event) Consejo Empresarial Mexicano de Comercio Exterior, Inversión y Tecnología, A.C (COMCE). Lorena and Riccardo will give a presentation on China’s business and regulatory environment as well as participate in the networking event after the presentation.
  • November 7, 2018: One Road One Belt event. Maria Kotova, Head of Dezan Shira & Associates’ North American Business Development will attend.
  • November 8, 2018: Poland Trade Promotion Center will be hosting a business match-making event  with 80 Polish enterprises coming to China for the first time. Riccardo and Lorena will be attending

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China Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices in ChinaHong KongIndonesiaSingaporeRussia, and Vietnam. Please contact or visit our website at