The first ever China International Import Expo, taking place in Shanghai this November, will be something unique, innovative and creative in the history of world trade, the special envoy for China’s Ministry of Commerce told a China Business Conference in London on Wednesday.
Yu Yuantang, deputy director general of the Department of European Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce, said, “For the first time in the history of world trade, China is doing one international import expo exclusively dedicated to imports. This is unheard of in the rest of the world.”
Organized by the China-Britain Business Council, the sixth Annual CBBC China Business Conference drew more than 400 delegates from the UK and China.
Among the speakers were Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, Lord Sassoon, chairman of CBBC, Mark Field MP, minister for Asia and the Pacific and Jin Xu, minister counselor of the economic and commercial office at the Chinese embassy in London.
British Prime Minister Theresa May sent a video message to conference delegates, saying her visit to China earlier this year had provided a great opportunity to see for herself the benefit brought by trade between the two nations.
May said she would “continue to work closely with the highest levels of Chinese government to ensure our relationship delivers for business and for people right across the UK and China”.
This year’s conference focused on “China and the UK: A Relationship for the New Era”, and topics discussed included the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese consumers and future cities.
Ambassador Liu said that, in the last year, “the bilateral trade between our two countries reached $79 billion, with British exports to China growing by nearly 20 percent.
“In the new era, China will open its arms wider to the world and invite other countries to share its new development opportunities. Trade and economic cooperation between China and the UK will embrace a promising future and deliver more benefits to the peoples of our two countries.”
The China International Import Expo, which was announced by President Xi Jinping last May, will run from Nov 5 to 10.
Sassoon said the Expo could prove to be as an important milestone as China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation.
“The recent commitment by international trade secretary, Liam Fox, that the UK government will participate presents an excellent opportunity for all of the British businesses to get better access to China’s lucrative consumer market,” Sassoon added. “China’s middle class will expand from 430 million of today to 780 million by mid 2020s.”
According to Yu, in the next five years, China is expecting to import products and services valuing more than $10 trillion, which provides a historic opportunity for enterprises across the world to enter the huge Chinese market.
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