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CIIE Improves Shanghai’s Function as International Trade Center

November 12, 2019

Wang Ruzhong, Research Fellow of the Institute of Applied Economics, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

It is an ambitious goal of the city as well as a national strategy to build Shanghai into an international center of economy, finance, trade, shipping and sci-tech innovation. Though Shanghai had made great progress in the construction of the international trade center, and even overtook traditional trade centers such as Hong Kong and Singapore according to some indicators in the past few years, on the whole, there remains a gap in its function, extension, influence, and innovation capabilities compared with those globally recognized trade centers. The second China International Import Expo (CIIE) will promote and perfect the function of Shanghai as an international trade center at least from the following three aspects.

First, the Expo furthers the status and role of Shanghai as an international import center. The experience of developed countries and regions reveals that an international trade center is not only an export center, but also an import center. In recent years, the trade structure of Shanghai has presented an obvious change that the import value gradually exceeds the export value, and the balance continues to widen. At the same time, Shanghai port, as China's largest distribution center of imported consumer goods, handles nearly 30% of the country's imports, and 70% of imported clothing, 53% of imported cosmetics, and 37% of imported cars are imported through this port and then distributed to the rest parts of China. Shanghai's foreign trade has been in the transition from export-oriented to import-oriented. In this case, the Expo will undoubtedly strengthen its function as China's import hub and center, and transform and upgrade the function of the international trade center.

Second, the Expo propels Shanghai into an international consumption city. An international trade center is also an international shopping and consumption city. The Expo introduces foreign brands of quality products and services, and attracts outstanding domestic retailers and purchasers to participate in the exhibition. To take the opportunities presented by the Expo, many countries and companies set up import trading platforms. Greenland Global Commodity Trading Hub, launched by Shanghai Greenland Group, creates a 400,000-square meter industry platform for commodity transaction, enterprise headquarters and smart logistics, and an online trading platform with the trading value worth hundreds of billions, and its operation mode of “6+365” (The Expo lasts for six days and the platforms serves all year round) will attract a great number of consumers home and abroad to go shopping in Shanghai. Therefore, the Expo helps build Shanghai into an international shopping center and consumption city so as to further its construction of international trade center.

 Third, the Expo gives impetus to the city’s development as an international trade center through its enhanced exhibition function. As a large-scale international exhibition, the Expo exerts its powerful agglomeration and extension effect. The Expo serves as an important channel in the building of the international trade center because it meets diversified consumption needs and reduces the trading cost based on the platform economy that agglomerates trade carriers, creates trade clusters, and promotes the effect of economies of scale. In the future, it is necessary to give play to the role of the Expo as an eco-friendly, international and intelligent exhibition that integrates the functions of conference center, exhibition center, tourism and trade center, and starred hotel, and to build it into a large-scale exhibition, exchange and transaction platform under the theme of culture, trade and sci-tech in an effort to make the Expo a critical lever in the building of Shanghai international trade center.