China, dubbed ‘the workshop of the world’ for its sprawling supply chains and huge export capacity, is hoping to manufacture something new this week at a huge trade fair in Shanghai: import orders.
The Nov. 5-10 China International Import Expo, or CIIE, is an attempt by Beijing to counter mounting criticism of its trade and business practices by bringing thousands of foreign companies together with Chinese buyers to demonstrate the importing potential of the world’s no.2 economy.
At its core, the event is symbolic.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping opens the expo with a speech on Monday morning, few expect him to announce bold new policies of the kind that many foreign governments and businesses have been seeking.
Instead, people involved in planning meetings have said they expect state-owned companies to arrive with orders to do deals, possibly even with quotas, so that the expo will end with China something to show the world.
No officials from the United States — China’s top trading partner — will be present as their trade dispute rages, but over 100 U.S. firms will be exhibiting their wares.
With political pressure to deliver, some deals are likely to be toothless memoranda while others will re-hash previous orders, executives and diplomats say.
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