The CIIE is considered a must for German companies considering the Chinese market

The electric iX is one of the highlights of the BMW stand at the CIIE on November 5, 2021. [Photo provided to]

For Michael Borchmann, a former senior official in the German state of Hesse, it is clear that any company wishing to sell its products in the vast Chinese market cannot afford to ignore the China International Import Expo, or CIIE.

The fifth CIIE will be held in Shanghai from November 5 to 10 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center.

And from the perspective of Borchmann, former director of the Department of European and International Affairs at the Hessian State Chancellery, there is no such event as the CIIE anywhere in the world.

“It has acquired such importance that no company wishing to sell its products can afford to ignore the CIIE and the attractive Chinese market,” he said at a conference in Frankfurt on Wednesday organized by the Frankfurt office of the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board to promote the exhibition and Shanghai.

More than 170 German companies attended the fourth CIIE in Shanghai last year. And this year, 280 of the 500 largest global companies will participate in the 2022 edition, with 90% of these companies being regular participants.

Borchmann notes that the exhibition is not only a platform for global multinationals, but also for small and medium enterprises.

“The CIIE is also a showcase for Shanghai, an ideal location for German companies,” said Borchmann, who has visited China 16 times.

China has been Germany’s largest trading partner for six years. China is the main source of imports for Germany and the second largest export destination, behind the United States. Some 5,000 German companies operate in China.

Major German automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen sell around 30-40% of their products in the Chinese market.

Norbert Noisser, senior adviser for China at the Giessen-Friedberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the CIIE is a strong signal for opening China’s domestic market to foreign investors.

“Shanghai is the most important place for companies to invest in China,” he said. “China is an engine of innovation and an important partner with a huge domestic market. This opens up great opportunities for German companies.”

Noisser notes that the pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, as well as other pressures on global supply chains, have posed major challenges for businesses, and he said these issues require international cooperation.

He hailed the conclusion of the Comprehensive Investment Agreement negotiations between the European Union and China in December 2020 as a milestone.

He underlined that this will be particularly important when the agreed terms can be implemented, clearly referring to the European Parliament, which delayed the ratification of the bilateral investment agreement. EU trade officials believe the deal will bring more benefits to European companies in the vast Chinese market.

Both Noisser and Borchmann applaud the tremendous progress made between Germany and China over the past 50 years of diplomatic relations, not only in trade and investment, but also in far-reaching people-to-people exchanges.

Zhu Yi, vice chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, welcomes German companies’ participation in the CIIE and their investment in Shanghai.

She said Shanghai is dedicated to creating the most optimal business climate to facilitate investment and trade and with the most efficient government administration.

“Shanghai is where you can feel the dynamism of the industrial ecosystem. It is the most promising and viable market to explore business opportunities,” she told Wednesday’s conference by video link.

Xue Feng, chairman of the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board, spoke at length about the business climate in Shanghai for foreign investors.

He said Shanghai’s economy is deeply integrated with world trade.

“Innovation and inclusiveness have always been Shanghai’s most distinctive characteristics,” he said.

Zhu Weige, economic and trade adviser at the Chinese Consulate General in Frankfurt, said China-Germany relations have made tremendous progress over the past 50 years and will maintain momentum despite recent negative media coverage.

“This year’s CIIE will have greater significance because it will be held at the time of the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between China and Germany and shortly after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” he said. .

He also welcomes the visitors’ participation in the Hongqiao Forum, an event organized within the framework of the CIIE. The forum will explore the benefits of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a trade agreement that took effect in January, and China’s higher level of openness.

Stefan Ress, of German winemaker Balthasar Ress Weingut, whose products are already sold in China, shared his excitement at the huge interest of Chinese consumers in German wines, especially the Riesling variety.

“We realize the importance of the CIIE,” he said, adding that his company is preparing to participate in China’s import expo.

[email protected]

James R. Rhodes