(CIIE) U.S. companies look to new opportunities at China's trade fair

Updated: November 16, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. food and agricultural companies which participated in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) have reaped more than they had expected at the event, said Eric Zheng, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai).

From soybeans, sorghum, corn and legumes to pet food, the participating enterprises have signed contracts with millions of dollars during the expo in Shanghai from Nov. 5 to 10, according to Zheng.

"This has allowed U.S. exhibitors to deeply experience the enormous potential of the Chinese market," he told Xinhua Tuesday.

"Throughout the expo, the Food and Agricultural Pavilion was bustling with activity, drawing attention from both participants and media," he said, adding that U.S. exhibitors expressed a commitment to access the Chinese market upon returning home.

This was the first time the United States had a pavilion at the CIIE through collaboration with the AmCham Shanghai and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The efforts involved 17 collaborators from U.S. state governments, industry associations and businesses gathering to showcase American foods and agricultural products.

While the global economy remains in recovery mode, the CIIE, the world's first import-themed expo, serves as a crucial platform for exhibitors from various countries to promote their products and brands in China, said Zheng.

Zheng believed the Chinese market still has significant potential for further growth in its demand for American food and agricultural products.

"China is the largest export destination for U.S. agricultural products, with the total value reaching 42 billion dollars last year," he said, "Many small- and medium-sized food and agricultural producers in the United States have expressed their eagerness to expand their products into the Chinese market only to face challenges in finding suitable distribution channels."

Based in Glenview, Illinois, Hang Tung Resources (USA) Co., Ltd. is an oilseeds and grain company exporting to China since 2014. At least 90 percent of the company's business comes from China.

"We participated in the CIIE as part of a delegation organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, marking the first-ever group of exhibitors representing the U.S. federal government in the history of the CIIE," Sherman Shi, the company's vice president, told Xinhua.

The company secured business agreements totaling 500 million dollars during the expo, which "surpassed initial expectations" and was "a remarkable success," said Shi.

"China is a market that we cannot overlook, both presently and in the future. As one of the largest countries in terms of population and with a thriving economy, the Chinese consumers' demand for general agri-commodities is significant," he said.

For Vlady Cornateanu, president and CEO of Sino-America Business Development Company in Beverly Hills, California, words failed him to "truly express the magnitude of this unique trade fair, the reach to the world and the openness to international companies, large and small, to do business in China."

The 74-year-old exporter with 35 years of experience in international trade said he witnessed plenty of foot traffic around the individual booths and country pavilions.

"I talked to many vendors, some new, some repeat, but all expressed enthusiasm for being part of such a prestigious and unparalleled trade fair," said Cornateanu.

"The U.S. pavilion in the food section brought a variety of products, but a lot more should be brought in the next expo," he said.

"The large U.S. companies with their own mega spaces, like Ford, Meta or FedEx, that always participated in the past obviously found the expo worthwhile. I hope more U.S. companies will participate in the future with an improved economy and political outlook," Cornateanu said.

Editor: Yang Yifan