European businesses hope China launches reforms to improve market access at Shanghai trade fair
- 500 European companies among 2,800 firms from 130 companies taking part in the inaugural China International Import Expo
European companies are hoping Beijing will announce concrete reform measures to increase access to the world’s most populated market at the launch of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) on Monday.
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China’s Shanghai chapter said on Friday that the number of deals signed during the extravagant show from November 5-10 would be of only symbolic value. The chamber instead hoped there was emphasis on creating a level playing field instead of reducing trade surplus.
“It seems that the whole world will be present [at the expo],” said Carlo Diego D’Andrea, the chamber’s Shanghai chairman, who is also vice-president of the EU business chamber in China.
He hoped that President Xi Jinping announces reforms at the expo’s inauguration on Monday and also provides a time frame for them to be implemented.
The CIIE is the first time Beijing has organised an international trade show to focus on purchases of foreign goods and services. It is aimed at striking a trade balance between China and other countries, especially against the backdrop of the ongoing US-China trade tensions.
A total of 2,800 companies from 130 countries and regions are taking part in the expo, covering an area of more than 300,000 square metres.
China mobilises 60,000 firms to buy foreign goods ahead of import fair to prove its markets are open
About 500 European companies have signed up to promote their products and services.
“European businesses want the persistent lack of market access in many sectors to be addressed urgently,” the chamber’s Shanghai chapter said in a report on doing businesses on the mainland.
Foreign businesses have long complained about Beijing’s slow progress in opening up the market to overseas players.
Around 46 per cent of European companies said they missed out on business opportunities in China because of regulatory hurdles and market access restrictions, according to an EU chamber survey.
D’Andrea said “huge deals” can be expected at the CIIE since it is being used to show China’s willingness to actively buy foreign goods.
China has mobilised 60,000 companies to buy imported goods ahead of the expo.
The Chinese government has also urged domestic firms to land more deals in the run-up to the expo and officials have been acting as matchmakers to seal agreements.
Adam Dunnett, the chamber’s secretary general, said the deals already signed would be announced only at the expo to ensure that the event gets full exposure.