China International Import Expo Showcases Global Innovation and Trade Opportunities Amidst Japan’s Absence
The China International Import Expo (CIIE) kicked off in Shanghai on Sunday, showcasing a wide array of imported goods and highlighting China’s commitment to opening its markets. However, the event saw a notable absence of Japanese companies, with many opting not to participate due to concerns surrounding the release of treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized the significance of the import expo as a platform for high-standard opening up, allowing China’s vast market to be shared by the world. With over 3,400 companies from 128 countries and regions in attendance, this year’s event witnessed a 20% increase in exhibitors compared to the previous year. The relaxation of entry restrictions to China following the country’s zero-COVID policy contributed to the surge in participation.
Semiconductor-related exhibitors garnered significant attention at the expo, with industry leaders like Qualcomm Inc., ASML Holding N.V., and Samsung Electronics Co. showcasing their cutting-edge technologies. The event also featured an AI experience area, highlighting China’s commitment to innovation and technology.
Among the exhibitors, Micron Technology, Inc., a first-time participant, exhibited state-of-the-art semiconductors for 5G smartphones and electric vehicles. Despite previous tensions between China and the United States, a Micron official confirmed that all showcased products were being supplied to Chinese companies.
Qualcomm also took the opportunity to showcase its latest smartphone chip, despite the U.S. government’s ban on exporting this chip to Chinese telecoms company Huawei Technologies Co. The company’s presence at the expo reflected its reliance on the enormous Chinese market, which accounts for 60% of Qualcomm’s sales.
The CIIE has gained prominence as China’s real estate market faces a crisis, leading to a broader economic slowdown. Foreign investment in China has also decreased, with direct investment by foreign companies marking its first annual decline since 1998, amounting to a drop of $11.8 billion (¥1.8 trillion) during the July-September period.
In response to these trends, the Chinese government has increasingly utilized the CIIE as a platform for economic diplomacy. The opening ceremony witnessed the presence of leaders from around ten countries, including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. This visit marked the first by an Australian leader to China in seven years, following tensions between the two countries in 2020 over the origin of the novel coronavirus.
With China’s recent removal of trade restrictions on some Australian products, Australian wines featured prominently at the expo. Albanese expressed his desire to improve relations with China, emphasizing the benefits of stronger dialogue and cooperation between the two nations. The Australian Prime Minister was expected to hold talks with President Xi during the event.
However, Japanese companies demonstrated reluctance to participate in this year’s expo. Around 350 Japanese companies, fifty fewer than the previous year, were expected to join. Many fishery and apparel-related companies opted not to attend, citing various reasons for their absence.
A popular attraction at previous expos, the cutting demonstration for Nagasaki-caught tuna organized by the Japan External Trade Organization, was canceled this year due to China’s ban on imported fishery products from Japan. Furthermore, China’s revised anti-espionage law, which came into effect in July, cast a shadow over the event following the arrest of a Japanese citizen on suspicion of violating the law.
Amidst these dynamics, Japanese companies cut down on the number of personnel attending the expo and limited their business meetings. The absence of Japanese companies and the cancellation of certain events underscore the challenges and concerns surrounding China-Japan trade relations.
In conclusion, the China International Import Expo serves as a platform for China to display its market openness amidst economic difficulties and declining foreign investment. While the event attracts a large number of exhibitors worldwide, the absence of Japanese companies this year reflects concerns related to the Fukushima nuclear plant and other factors impacting China-Japan trade.