Largest US business delegation flocks to CIIE, eyes closer cooperation with China
Published: Nov 05, 2023 09:04 PM

A view of the US booth at the 6th CIIE held in Shanghai on November 5, 2023.Photo: Chu Daye/GT

A view of the booth of US agricultural and food companies at the 6th CIIE held in Shanghai on November 5, 2023. Official exhibition begins on November 6. Photo: Chu Daye/GT

Many US companies have actively participated in the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in what could be the largest scale in history, and they signed a number of orders on the first day, showcasing their expectations for closer cooperation with China. 

The strong presence of US businesses comes amid warming China-US ties following high-level exchanges. Experts predict that the two countries are likely to initiate more high-level official exchanges to promote interaction and cooperation at various levels.

US-based global materials science company Dow signed a $300 million memorandum of understanding with ZKH Group at the CIIE on Sunday, marking "The First Order of The First Day" of the CIIE this year. The companies will cooperate to tap into burgeoning silicone markets downstream, such as electrification, transportation, packaging and construction. 

"The CIIE is an important platform for us to showcase our latest innovative technologies for China and the region. It is a one-stop display of our R&D expertise and manufacturing know-how, and it highlights the valuable partnerships we have in China," Puay Koon Chia, Dow Asia-Pacific president, said in a statement it sent to the Global Times on Sunday.

This is the sixth consecutive year that Dow has participated in the CIIE. With a core focus on sustainability, the company displayed nearly 50 innovative materials science solutions, with 11 making their debut either globally, in the Asia-Pacific or specifically in China. 

With agricultural cooperation remaining a bright spot between the two countries, US agricultural origination and processing company ADM will sign strategic cooperation agreements with multiple Chinese partners involving soybeans and grain during the CIIE, with the total cooperation amount exceeding $2.8 billion, the Global Times learned from the group on Sunday.

China's allure as a global mega-market and its steadfast commitment to fostering high-quality growth while expanding high-level open-up have transformed the annual CIIE into a massive "magnet,"drawing the world's top companies, Linbo Zhu, ADM's China president, told the Global Times on Sunday.

 "We are eagerly anticipating continuing to harness this opportunity to seek guidance from the government and industry associations, deepen our understanding of the Chinese market, and establish connections with more partners, customers and consumers," Zhu said.

US agricultural exports to China in fiscal year 2022 hit $36.4 billion and surpassed the previous year's record, with China as the largest export market for the second consecutive year, according a report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA is leading a delegation of 17 exhibitors to the CIIE, marking the first official US participation in China's major import fair since its first edition in 2018.

The participation of US companies sends a positive signal that China and US could open up more space for cooperation through specific arrangements and occasions where both sides share common interests, like the CIIE, Gao Lingyun, an expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The enthusiasm of US companies for the CIIE comes as China-US relations have shown signs of warming up amid more frequent high-level contacts. California Governor Gavin Newsom recently concluded a trip to China, which experts said could have a demonstration effect on other US states in promoting sub-national exchanges.