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Special> China International Fair For Investment & Trade> Beijing Review Exclusive> Q&A
UPDATED: July 31, 2009 NO. 33, 2006
Investment Matchmaker

The 10th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) is due to open on September 8. Huang Ling, Vice Mayor of Xiamen, the host city, speaks with Beijing Review reporter Jing Xiaolei on the preparations and expectations for the fair.

Beijing Review: The CIFIT is the largest annual investment and trade promotion event in China. What will be new at this year's fair?

Huang Ling: This year's CIFIT still highlights investment promotion and has two themes-"introducing foreign direct investment" and "going global."

It remains our objective to forge the CIFIT into a world-class event with global influence and this year we've made some breakthroughs. Representatives of all five co-organizers-the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Finance Corp., the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-will attend the fair this year. The World Trade Organization, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency based in Washington D.C., and investment promotion agencies from France, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden have also signed up for the fair and will carry out their promotional activities.

The CIFIT has become an increasingly important platform for investment information release with more and more international economic groups, foreign governments, business associations and multinationals establishing close ties with it. As it did in the previous nine sessions, this year the Chinese Ministry of Commerce together will continue to hold high-profile forums and seminars on investment issues, which are open to all participants.

Cooperation with Taiwan will be highlighted this year. The organizing committee has invited more companies and institutions from Taiwan than ever before to take part in the fair. The Second Cross-Strait Tourism Expo will be launched on the sidelines of the fair, while a variety of activities will be held jointly by the organizers and Taiwan's industrial and commercial groups.

This is the 10th anniversary of the CIFIT, so activities during the fair will be more diversified, including the opening ceremony, a welcome banquet, a firework party and awards ceremonies.

How is the preparatory work going so far?

Preparations are well underway. A total of 236 business delegations from 63 countries and regions are booked to attend this year's fair. Our participants include the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies, the World Trade Organization, the U.S.-China Business Council, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the London Development Agency and the Macao Chamber of Commerce.

Forty-three delegations from 34 countries and regions have booked exhibition booths. Pavilion days have been scheduled for Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. And this year's fair has registered 22,000 projects for domestic investment and 1,100 projects for overseas investment.

As for the International Investment Forum, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, lecturers will include leaders from China's central government agencies, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy and Secretary General of UNCTAD Supachai Panitchpakdi.

The media promotion work has been in full swing. We've run our promotional ads on the national TV broadcaster and held several press conferences to promote the fair that drew a host of reporters from such mainstream media as People's Daily and Xinhua News Agency. On July 12, we hosted a promotional session in Hong Kong and leaders of the organizing committee visited some important business organizations there.

What is the major work for the next stage?

We have to maintain smooth communication with our members to carry out follow-up actions and we have to prepare well for the "matchmaking" between investors and those seeking investment.

What have the previous nine CIFIT sessions brought your city?

After the first fair was held in 1997, every year about 10,000 foreigners and 30,000 Chinese business people come to the city to attend the fair, which has made Xiamen a more well-known name throughout the world. What's more, many people participate in the CIFIT every year, so they can see how the city has made great changes. In this sense, our city has become a showcase of China's reform and opening up.

Second, through hosting the CIFIT, the management of the city and the quality of the citizens of Xiamen have improved as well. The CIFIT is an international event, and thus we have to present the best image of our city and make it meet international standards.

And finally, it boosts the development of the exhibition industry in Xiamen. The CIFIT has given rise to other expos in the city so we have to provide sufficient facilities to meet the expanding needs for hosting expos. For example, in 1997 we built the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center. Meanwhile, a professional team is taking shape to handle expo planning, decorating and other services. On the part of the government, we have built up an integrated system handling security, food safety, medical care and accommodation affairs. The standard for the CIFIT is raised year by year, and therefore our system has been improving all the time.

Through these years of hosting the CIFIT, do you think there is something that needs to be improved?

We still have a lot to do if we want to make our CIFIT a real international brand.

As for the four-day fair, we endeavor to extend its influence, increase the tangible results and elevate the CIFIT's authority in publicizing all kinds of investment information.

We are thinking about how to make better use of the resources the fair has stored up when it is not in session. The CIFIT, which is designed as a platform for promoting investment at home and abroad, should not cease functioning after its annual session ends. To develop all-year-round service to investors is actually the key mission that we have been working at, and this is also how we can upgrade the quality of the event.

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