SBF to lead Singapore companies taking part in first China International Import Expo

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) aims to bring more than 100 Singapore companies, from all different sectors, to take part in the inaugural China International Import Expo (CIIE) later this year, the federation announced at a media conference on Thursday (Feb 22).

Mr Teo Siong Seng, SBF's chairman, said the federation will lead the Singapore delegation, which will represent the ecosystem of businesses here, including both start-ups and established companies. Additionally, he said that companies from a diverse range of sectors are encouraged to take part, ranging from high-end manufacturing and tech to medical and education services.

To be held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10, CIIE is organised by China's Ministry of Commerce and the Shanghai Municipal Government. The expo was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last May.

Ms Zhong Manying, minister-counsellor at China's embassy in Singapore, said in Mandarin that the expo will provide a forum for Singapore companies to gain first-hand information about global trade demand and add to the international reputation of Singaporean products.

Furthermore, the expo is also an opportunity to strengthen China-Singapore cooperation with regard to the Belt and Road initiative, she added.

In agreement, Mr Teo said: "Singapore companies can look forward to a fruitful networking and business matching session that can lead to fast and tangible results."

Speaking at the event, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann said that Singapore companies, with their strong branding and high quality products, will be able to cater to a Chinese market that is increasingly open and a consumer population that increasingly seeks differentiated products and services.

In terms of financial support for Singapore companies to attend the expo, Mr Teo said the federation is still finalising cost subsidies with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). Ms Sim added that companies can also look to existing schemes from IE Singapore.

China has been Singapore's largest trading partner since 2013, and their bilateral trade in goods exceeded S$137 billion last year, according to statistics from MTI.

More than 100 countries will be represented at the expo, as well as 150,000 Chinese and foreign buyers. Some of the major international companies that have already confirmed their participation include Microsoft, Dell, Volvo, BMW and L'Oreal.