US businesses seek to expand in China via CIIE, despite calls for ‘decoupling’
Published: Nov 08, 2022 07:26 PM


From food ingredients to high-tech solutions, exhibits brought by US companies again became one of the highlights at the ongoing 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, while executives from US multinational companies expressed their expectations for and commitment to the Chinese market.

Despite the US government's push for an economic decoupling from China, some US business representatives stressed that China-US trade relations won't break, as they need the Chinese market to help digest products made in the US.

The US state of Idaho brought two agricultural companies to attend the CIIE, the second time the Idaho state government had attended the expo. 

Tara Qu, chief representative of China Office of State of Idaho, said that China has always been one of the major international markets for the state of Idaho to seek export and cooperation opportunities.

"No matter under what circumstances, trade between China and the US will not stop, because [their markets] are closely intertwined with each other, and each side takes its own needs," Qu told the Global Times at the CIIE.
According to Qu, the large amount of agricultural products produced in Idaho like potato and dairy can hardly be consumed domestically. "As we have such good resources and such large output, it's important for the state government to help the farmers to export their products to all over the world," Qu said.
At present, agricultural products export to China from Idaho include potatoes, beef, dairy and animal feed.

Qu said that the CIIE has "very good effects" and is a very good opportunity for Idaho. She said that the state had covered all the expenses for companies attending the expo as a way to encourage more companies in the state to attend the event.

At this year's CIIE, products displayed by US companies caught much public attention. To name a few, US electric car maker Tesla showcased a human-sized robot named "TeslaBot," highlighting the company's focus on artificial intelligence. 

US agricultural giant Cargill brought chefs to cook the company's food for spectators at the CIIE to taste, while DuPont brought its innovative center in Shanghai to the CIIE stage for the first time.

Many US exhibitors' booths were designed to have a modern, high-tech feel, and there were rolling promotional films showing the companies' brand values and concepts, drawing visitors who took pictures. 

A number of procurement deals have been signed between US companies and Chinese buyers at the CIIE. On Monday afternoon, a Chinese company in North China's Hebei signed a contract valued at $200 million with Cargill to buy 2 million tons of iron ore, the Hebei Daily noted. DuPont signed procurement deals with two Shanghai companies on Sunday, the firm disclosed.

US firm ADM told the Global Times that the company is set to sign strategic cooperation agreements with Chinese companies, including the COFCO Corp, during this year's CIIE. The company is promoting the use of the Chinese yuan in international trade transactions to lower exchange costs, it revealed. 

Several exhibitors and executives told the Global Times that they found the CIIE to be a wonderful platform to promote products and interact with buyers from all over China.

Anderson Northwest, one of the two companies that the state of Idaho brought to the CIIE this year, signed a letter of intent with a company in East China's Jiangsu to purchase $5 million worth of products next year, including dried peas and lentils, the company disclosed. 

Such remarks and the scene at the CIIE draw a starkly different picture from the US government's push for decoupling. Washington has imposed a slew of sanctions against China in a wide range of areas.

But business representatives and experts stressed that the trend of China-US trade cooperation, which is a "ballast stone" for bilateral relations, has not been weakened by any unilateralism efforts. US companies' active attendance at the CIIE reflects that trend.

US exhibitors at the CIIE also expressed their confidence in and expectations for the Chinese market, saying that they are "looking for" opportunities to step up commitments in China.

"We are confident that the Chinese market will be open and innovative in all aspects... and we will actively introduce more global innovations to the Chinese market and integrate into China's economic development," said ADM's China president Zhu Linbo.