The Export Development Board (EDB), in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Shanghai, facilitated Sri Lanka’s participation in the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in Shanghai, China from 5-10 November.
Their participation reaped great success for Sri Lanka entrepreneurs to explore new business opportunities and strengthen existing business. The event also provided an opportunity for the country to showcase its strength in the areas of trade, investment and travel and tourism for the Chinese business community and the country’s consumers.
The CIIE is China’s second import expo held at the national level. The CIIE was held at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre (NECC) and co-sponsored by China’s Ministry of Commerce and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government supported by the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The expo was organised by the China International Import Expo Bureau and the National Exhibition and Center (Shanghai) Ltd.
The CIIE is the world’s first import-themed national-level expo. The expo was first staged in 2018. The Chinese mega import exhibition, which is held across an area of about 360,000 m2, includes other activities such as bilateral meetings, investment forums and economic discussions. One hundred and fifty-five countries, regions and international organisations, more than 3,900 companies with a total exhibition area of 300,000 square metres, and more than 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers attended this grand event and explored business deals.
Promotional seminar at CCPIT, Shanghai
Chinese market for Sri Lanka The Chinese economy is developing steadily with medium-high-speed growth. In the coming five years, China is expected to import goods and services worth more than $ 10 trillion, which provides a historic opportunity for enterprises to enter the huge Chinese market.
Sri Lankan exports to China were valued at $ 230 million and China was the country’s ninth leading export destination in 2018, contributing 2% to Sri Lanka’s total export earnings. On the other hand, China was the second leading import source for Sri Lanka, with it providing $ 4,120 million in imports, which accounts for 19 % of total imports. The key items Sri Lanka exports to China include tea, gems and jewellery and it is diversifying into other potential product sectors such as rubber products, apparel, coconut kernel products, processed food, etc. This situation has created the need to reduce the trade gap between the two countries by building better market access for the establishment of Sri Lankan export products while diversifying into other potential sectors.
Sri Lanka’s participation at several major events was facilitated by the EDB, including the following.
Enterprise Business Exhibition
The Sri Lanka pavilion at the Food and Agriculture section of the Enterprise Business Exhibition consisted of 14 companies, namely Kaushalya Organic Industries Ltd, Akbar Brothers Ltd, Ceylon Tea Marketing Ltd, Devon Teas Ltd, Euro Asia Corporation Ltd, Hero Nature Products Ltd, Imperial Tea Exports Ltd, Lions Management Ltd, Mabroc Teas Ltd, Regency Teas Ltd, Sinolan Tea Ltd, Tea Talk Ltd, Tradlanka Agricultural Enterprises Ltd and World Mart Ceylon Ltd. representing Ceylon tea, coconut products, spices, rice and processed products. SRI BNB Ltd, an exporter of latex rubber products, exhibited in the Quality Life section.
A big footprint was placed in the massive Chinese food market by Tradlanka Holdings and Ceylon Plantation and Estate Group Ltd. by signing an agreement worth $ 7.5 million to export a traditional variety of red rice to the Ningbo area of China. Another contract worth $ 200,000 was signed between a Chinese importer and World Mart Ceylon, a Sri Lankan tea company. The majority of the companies exhibiting at the event had met their objectives and had the opportunity to establish strategic business collaboration.
Potential was also observed for coconut and coconut-based products for the China market, which is in the Food and Beverage export sector.
There was also a Business to Business Meeting at the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and China Chamber of International Commerce in Shanghai (CCIC).
The Sri Lanka Consulate Office and the CCPIT, Shanghai, with the EDB, organized a Business Forum and B2B meetings facilitating an opportunity for Sri Lanka delegates to meet representatives of renowned Chinese companies from Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai in China. This was organised on 4 November 2019 at the CCPIT, Shanghai, with the central objective of further strengthening business linkages between Sri Lanka and China.
The EDB made a comprehensive presentation on the business as well as FDI opportunities in Sri Lanka and CCPIT Vice Chairman Li Zhigang highlighted that cooperation between Colombo and Shanghai could be vast given the fact that Colombo had been nominated a sister city of Shanghai. In particular, the Vice Chairman referred to the services that Shanghai could gain from Sri Lanka such as legal services.
Sri Lanka stalls at the CIIE Enterprise Business Exhibition
Visitors at the Sri Lanka stall
The EDB organised the Sri Lanka National Pavilion at the Country Exhibition of the CIIE from 5-20 November, with the participation of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, Coconut Development Authority, SriLankan Airlines and the EDB to showcase the strength of the country in the spheres of trade, investment and travel and tourism. The segments of Sri Lanka apparel, gems and jewellery, Ceylon spices, herbal cosmetics, handicraft products and cargo and investments were also promoted.
The Sri Lanka cultural performance at the Sri Lanka pavilion and the central square conveyed Sri Lanka’s cultural identity and tradition, attracting a large audience.
Visitors at the Sri Lanka stall
HIEF and other parallel forums
Sri Lanka also participated in the Hongqiao International Economic Forum (HIEF), which was held alongside the CIIE, including five parallel sessions on 5 November. Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade Secretary S.T. Kodikara, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, the Consul General of Sri Lanka in Shanghai and EDB officials participated in this major event comprising parallel forums held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), organised under the theme of ‘Opening Up and Innovation for Win-Win Cooperation’.
Furthermore, the Sri Lankan delegates also attended the Chengdu Procurement Signing Ceremony, Business Environment Promotion Conference and Business to Business Meetings held on 4 November and the ‘Interpretation of the New Round of Beijing’s Opening-up Policy and Key Projects Signing Event’ on 6 November on the invitation of the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau.
The success of Sri Lanka’s participation at the second China International Import Exposition is a collaborative achievement of the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Shanghai, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing, other stakeholder promotional organisations and the private sector participant companies. The exceptional support of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo also contributed to this success in a major way.
The EDB envisages organising the third edition of the China International Import Expo, Shanghai, in order to further strengthen business relations with China. Sri Lanka is also bolstered by the fruitful outcomes of its maiden participation in CIIE in 2018 with the presence of 29 companies as well as this year’s participation.
Scenes from the exhibition
Source at: Daily FT