Three Reasons Why China Hosts the Third CIIE amid COVID-19
“Shanghai is a unique place completed by the tall plane trees on the sidewalk.” Plane tree-lined streets and alleys are some of the beautiful scenery of Shanghai and tree leaves turn yellow-green in early November. It is getting colder while the COVID-19 pandemic keeps raging worldwide. At this moment, the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) was held in the city as scheduled.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech at the opening ceremony of the third CIIE: “As scheduled and confident in the containment protocols that have been put in place, China is hosting this global trade event. It demonstrates China’s sincere desire to share its market opportunities with the world and contribute to global economic recovery.”
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, China chooses to host the global trade event because of the following three reasons.
Commitment and Good Faith
At the first CIIE in November 2018, President Xi expressed his hope: “China has a big market of over 1.3 billion people, and it is our sincere commitment to open the Chinese market. The CIIE, an event to be held on an annual basis, will feature good performance, good results and continued success in the years to come.”
The second CIIE was held in November last year. This year, the world has been disrupted by COVID-19. The World Trade Organization (WTO) said global merchandise trade is expected to decline 13 to 32 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple countries are locking down once again to respond to the recent resurgence of infections as the temperature in the Northern Hemisphere drops. China is trying to prevent the coronavirus from re-entering the country or a resurgence in indigenous cases. Despite all these challenges, China still hosts the third CIIE to continue broadening market access for global businesses.
The CIIE this year carries out integrated services for the sake of epidemic prevention and control. It introduces an online booking system, which is open to exhibitors and professional visitors (including buyers, industry insiders and experts from enterprises, government institutions, and social organizations) who have already registered on the CIIE website. All those attending the expo need to present negative test results for COVID-19 conducted within the past seven days and international participants are required to undergo quarantine for 14 days from arrival. All guests need to accept temperature checks and provide health codes showing that they haven’t been to areas with high risk of exposure to the virus before entering the venue. During the expo, guests are required to wear masks, and hand sanitizers are provided for those in need. COVID-19 has put all countries through a tough test. This year’s CIIE shows China’s answer to restore economic and trade cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.
Building a Global Community of Health for All
President Xi stated that the virus does not respect borders; nor is race or nationality relevant in the face of the disease, and he called on all people to work together to build a global community of health for all at the Virtual Event of the Opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly on May 18, 2020.
This year’s expo is convened at a special time when the world is facing the pandemic, and a zone on public health and epidemic prevention has been added to the exhibition area of Medical Equipment & Healthcare Products. Multiple pharmaceutical companies set up booths to exhibit their products and services for epidemic prevention. Some set two subsections dedicated for the introduction and promotion of anti-pandemic products.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused a surging demand for medical equipment, which the production capacity of existing medical device companies could hardly meet. Many companies that had not specialized in products related to epidemic prevention joined the effort, but they are now facing the bottleneck of improving product quality.
“An unfitting respirator mask on the ventilator will increase the risk of cross-infection and threaten the safety of medical workers,” said a clerk from Carl Zeiss AG at the third CIIE. The German manufacturer of optical systems and optoelectronics exhibits their quality inspection device for medical equipment like ventilators and CT scanners. The disassembled parts of a ventilator are orderly set out at the exhibition booth. “Our company can do quality inspections for all parts of the ventilator,” added the clerk.
Middle-aged and elderly people are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, with a high proportion of severe COVID-19 cases and a low recovery rate. The U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer noticed that many COVID-19 patients are co-infected with the coronavirus and streptococcus pneumoniae, so it developed a 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine based on the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). The timely use of the vaccine will help prevent co-infection, mitigate patients’ suffering, and increase the cure rate.
Another pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, established an industrial incubator in Wuxi, eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, with the aim to support Chinese companies in developing medical products and treatment solutions. One of the companies is exhibiting its developed coronavirus particle antigen test kit, which has significant advantages over traditional test kits. It is cost-effective, easy to operate, and returns the result within 15 minutes. It can detect antigen and antibody indicators for asymptomatic carriers or recovered patients. At present, its detection accuracy rate of a large volume of specimens of pseudovirus or positive throat swabs reaches 100 percent.
Win-win Cooperation for a Shared Future
As proposed at the just concluded Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, China will pursue high-level opening up and explore new prospects of win-win cooperation, China’s opening up will continue to develop on a larger scale and at a deeper level, and China will promote international cooperation featuring win-win benefits by leveraging its big market. The third CIIE held as scheduled speaks volume that China unswervingly continues to open wider to the world.
In his opening speech at the expo, Xi reiterated: “The overwhelming trend for countries to move toward openness and cooperation remains unchanged. All countries need to come together to jointly tackle risks and challenges, strengthen cooperation and communication, and embrace greater openness.”
This year, the exhibition area has expanded by nearly 30,000 square meters compared to that of the second CIIE. Over 70 percent of the world’s Top 500 and industry leaders that participated in the CIIE last year signed up for this year’s expo again, and the number of registered professional visitors has reached 400,000. Japan has the largest number of exhibitors (173) this year, followed by the United States. Hong Kong also sends the same number of exhibitors as the United States. China shows its sincerity of opening to the world and the world responds with its active participation.
The third CIIE just kicked off and the pre-registration work of the enterprise and business exhibition of the fourth CIIE has started. Hyundai, GM, Nestlé, and Qualcomm are among the many companies that have signed up for the fourth CIIE and their logos are displayed along the corridor on the first floor of the venue.
When the four-leaf clover-shaped venue lights up and the six exhibition areas display cutting-edge exhibits from all over the world, all eyes are on the wonderful show staged in Shanghai.