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Expo provides platform for greater global cooperation

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated:2023-06-02

Province's opening-up further stimulated by event's ongoing success

The Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo 2023 opens in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, on Friday. Welcoming delegations from 57 countries and regions, it will boost imports and further opening up the province to the world.

Launched in 2014, the expo has gradually become an essential platform for cooperation between Guangdong and the countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, according to the expo's organizing committee.

"The event has been promoting policy communication, facility connectivity, trade facilitation, financial integration, and people-to-people connections with BRI countries and regions," said Chen Yuehua, deputy secretary-general of the secretariat of the organizing committee, at a news conference in late May. He is also a senior official with the Department of Commerce of Guangdong, one of the organizers of the expo.

Three countries — Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Cote d'Ivoire — have set up national image exhibition areas for the first time at the expo.

The 57 participating countries and regions are distributed across five continents, and they include all 15 members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The 2023 MSRE continues to follow the patterns of "one exhibition plus one conference" and "comprehensive exhibitions plus trade shows", according to its organizing committee.

The exhibition, covering an area of 50,000 square meters, is being held at the China Import and Export Fair Complex till Sunday. It features three comprehensive exhibition areas for international cooperation and exchanges, international high-quality brands and foreign trade bases, as well as a professional exhibition area for Silk Road e-commerce.

The conference was held on Thursday at the Guangzhou Yuexiu International Congress Center, featuring one themed forum, five parallel subforums and two supplementary activities.

Trade opportunities

With an expanding circle of friends from overseas, the 2023 MSRE showcases thousands of domestic and foreign brands brought by 1,000 exhibitors, covering popular consumer categories such as food and beverages, trendy beauty and makeup, personal care and household products and appliances.

"We are providing 'one-stop' comprehensive services for exhibitors and buyers, promoting market supply and demand matching and resource coupling between China and BRI countries and regions, helping enterprises create more business opportunities, and sharing new opportunities for China's development," said Luo Zheng, deputy director-general of the Guangzhou commerce bureau, one of the expo's co-organizers.

Besides brands familiar to Chinese consumers, such as French brand Guerlain and Japanese electronics brand Citizen, new brands are appearing at the expo as well, including European floral and fruit tea brand Teekanne and Malaysian mineral water brand Spritzer.

The organizing committee is initiating the first Maritime Silk Road International Consumer Festival during the fair, giving better exposure of the imported products to Chinese consumers and buyers.

Hundreds of professional buyers including Taobao, Eternal Asia, Guangzhou Grandbuy, Watsons and China Duty Free Group have attended the expo for procurement at the invitation of the organizing committee, together with many industrial associations.

According to Luo, the expo appeals to Chinese foreign trade bases too which see it as a valuable channel to connect with foreign markets.

Dozens of foreign trade bases in Guangdong are seeking opportunities at the fair, including those which specialize in motorcycles and parts from Guangzhou, electronics from Dongguan, furniture from Shunde of Foshan, leisure clothing from the Shaxi town of Zhongshan and household appliances from Zhuhai.

"We will organize online global livestreaming during the expo to link up with overseas buyers for online exhibition viewing and precise business matching," said Chen, adding that it will be an effective way for these foreign trade bases to obtain overseas orders.

Diversified activities

With the aim of creating an enabling environment for international cooperation, the themed forum of the 2023 MSRE, which was held on Thursday, served as a platform for participants to share best practices, explore new opportunities for collaboration, and ultimately promote the BRI.

With the theme of Exploring New Opportunities for International Cooperation and Jointly Building a High-Quality Silk Road, the main forum saw participants engaging in discussions and exchanges centered around scientific and technological innovation cooperation, and biotech health cooperation with BRI countries and regions, as well as promoting the deep participation of RCEP member countries in the construction of the BRI.

Parallel subforums at the event include the Belt and Road Regional Cooperation Forum, Belt and Road Academician Forum, and Health Silk Road International Cooperation Forum.

Besides the forums, the expo's organizing committee will stage more than 20 promotional events and cultural exchange activities such as cultural performances, as well as more than 30 cross-border matchmaking events.

During the expo, the Belt and Road International Youth Leaders Forum will be held for the first time, providing a platform for communication and cooperation among young leaders of countries and regions involved in the BRI.

Young leaders from multiple countries and regions, such as France, the UK and Portugal, will be present at the forum, according to the organizing committee.

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The Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo is underway at the Pazhou International Convention and Exhibition Center in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. CHINA DAILY

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Visitors watch a band perform during the Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo held in 2021. CHINA DAILY

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Participants from home and abroad attend the Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo in 2021. CHINA DAILY

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