Shanghai is looking to enhance its global competitiveness and facilitate its economic transformation as it prepares for China's biggest import exposition in November, experts said.
Since President Xi Jinping announced that the country would host a China International Import Expo from 2018 in his keynote speech at the opening of the Belt and Road forum in May, Shanghai, as this year's host city, has been making every effort to ensure it will be a world-class exposition.
During his government work report, Ying Yong, mayor of Shanghai, noted that the whole city will work at full capacity to prepare for the event, and build an online and offline combined trading service platform not only for the six-day expo, but for the whole year.
The expo, which starts on Nov 5, is expected to showcase global quality goods, with up to a million products from more than 100 countries and regions, Shang Yuying, director of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.
This event is set to add to the competitiveness of the city, which reported the nation's largest GDP of 3.01 trillion yuan ($469 billion) in 2017, up 6.9 percent year-on-year, and the first to pass the 3-trillion-yuan mark.
"Shanghai needs continuous growtÓÀÔ¶µÄ³¬h opportunities, and the import expo is one of them," said Luo Changyuan, a professor from Fudan University.
According to Shang, the event will not only be a platform for Shanghai to trade goods globally, but also provide an opportunity for the city to better service nationwide requirements for global products.
A total of 10 specialized trading platforms including automobiles, pharmaceuticals, timepieces and liquor have already been launched at the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, serving as important channels for prime foreign products entering China.
"Recently, we have kicked off negotiations with Ireland and Greece, trying to persuade them to set up their own national product pavilions in the free trade zone, and create a year-round import expo," said Liu Hong, chairman of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Group Co.
The event will take place at the National Exhibition and Convention Center, which is the world's largest single-block building and exhibition complex. The total exhibition area of the 4 will exceed 240,000 square meters.
"The preparation and organization of the expo will call for a lot of detailed planning, and it will require the participation of local enterprises. Like all the large events Shanghai has organized, the expo will drive the city's service standards up to a higher level," said Luo.
Qi Xiaozhai, head of the Shanghai Society of Commercial Economy, said the event will be an opportunity to display Shanghai's business environment, tourism and commercial centers.
"The import expo is not only for Chinese to buy global products, but also a venue for Chinese enterprises, research institutions, government and management divisions, to learn from and study international firms, so that more Chinese-made goods can better meet international consumers' needs," he said.
"Local brands should seize the chance to promote their knockout products to participants, who are looking for quality goods," he said.
The huge inflow of foreign products to be exhibited during the event will also put pressure on customs clearance, so Li Xiangnong, Party chief of Shanghai Push Law Firm, suggested Shanghai take the expo as an opportunity to better facilitate its customs clearance.