Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC)

BCECC Newsletter: Impressions of the 6th China International Import Exhibition


On 10 November, the sixth China International Import Exhibition (CIIE) came to an end. While the first editions still got criticized as being mostly of symbolic value, the exhibition has developed into the biggest import-themed national-level exhibition in China in just a few years. The 2023 edition was the first post-Covid CIIE, which resulted in a boost of foreign exhibitors and visitors participating in the CIIE. More than 3.400 companies from 128 countries and regions participated in the exhibition, including 289 Fortune 500 companies and industry leading companies, the largest number ever.

Several Belgian exhibitors also attended CIIE, such as Auderghem (Shanghai), distributing different Belgian beers, and the Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

Li Yue, representative of Auderghem, testifies: “Participating to CIIE helps our company to connect with some key persons and huge direct consumers in special channels, but not so much beer distribution channels. More importantly, consumers get to know our products through CIIE as the products are labelled as CIIE products”.

Jan Van Der Borght, Representative of Port of Antwerp-Bruges commented: “As a loyal supporter of the CIIE, Port of Antwerp-Bruges was present with a large team to reconnect with old friends and build new connections. Since the merger of our both ports, Antwerp-Bruges is now indisputably a leading European gateway and a front runner in the digital and green energy transition.”

Impressions of Belgian exhibitors at the 6th CIIE

The multi-sectoral exhibition is held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC) in the Hongqiao district of Shanghai and focuses on 7 major industries: science & technology, automotive equipment, medical equipment & health care products, quality of life, services, food and agricultural products. The transaction volume of the CIIE this year was US$78.41 billion, an increase of 6.7% over the previous session.

The National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC)

It was also the first time that the US government participated in the event, with more than 200 companies participating in the expo.

US Ambassador to China Mr. Burns visits the CIIE (photo: US Consulate General Shanghai)

President Xi Jinping launched the CIIE to promote China’s high-level opening up to the outside world. The event can also be considered an alternative to the famous Canton Fair in Guangzhou, which is held twice per year for many decades already. The Canton Fair focuses on the export of products from China to the world, whereas CIIE promotes China as one of the fastest growing import and consumer markets.

Despite sluggish global trade since the beginning of the year, China’s imports and exports have remained stable. Official data released on 7 November shows that in October, China’s imports increased by 6.4 percent year on year. On the same day, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that China’s economy is set to grow by 5.4% this year, making an upward revision to its earlier forecast of 5% growth, while expecting slower growth in 2024.

In recent months, the Chinese government has ramped up efforts to attract foreign investment in China by optimizing its business environment. China continues to relax market access and provide a level-playing field for foreign investors. Furthermore, the government plans to further shorten the negative list for foreign investment and scrap restrictions for foreign investors entering the manufacturing industry.

Please contact the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC) in case you need more information.