Team Australia at this year’s CIIE

05 Dec 2023
Posted By: ACBC

The 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) successfully concluded in Shanghai on 10 November 2023, with Australian businesses expressing optimism about revitalising their trade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Austrade reported a record number of around 250 Australian exhibitors attending, with many more brands showcasing their world-class products and services to the 400,000+ registered expo attendees, and to the hundreds of thousands of sophisticated Chinese consumers joining the livestreaming launches.

Sen Don Farrell, Australia’s Minister for Trade and Tourism, called this expo “an opportunity to showcase the best Australia has to offer.” He noted that China is Australia’s largest trading partner, accounting for around A$300 billion during the FY 2023. This figure represents a quarter of Australia’s total goods and services exports to the world, with China being Australia’s sixth-largest direct investor.

This was the first participation at CIIE by an Australian Trade Minister since 2018 and the first ever for an Australian Prime Minister. Led by Austrade CIIE was also supported by trade and investment teams from states and territories, some of whom attended with business delegations.

ACBC members from across sectors ranging from food and wine, seafood, meat, health and wellness, TCM, pharmaceuticals, MedTech, mining and mining services, energy, education, and tourism were in attendance in large numbers. Unofficial indications are that, with MOUs signed, around A$500m deals were penned over the week.

ACBC was well represented with National President David Olsson joining the reception for the Prime Minister, and the related business roundtable, ACBC Queensland CEO Elizabeth Sullivan was a member of the delegation led by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, and ACBC Victoria President Rhys Roberts attended the expo events.

Earlier this year, mining giant (and ACBC national sponsor) Rio Tinto signed a long-term collaboration memorandum to be an exhibitor in the CIIE from 2024 to 2028. “Rio Tinto has been an old friend of the CIIE, and we have been actively participating in the expo since six years ago,” said its Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm in an interview with Xinhua. He described the CIIE as “a place to get inspiration…It’s natural for us to be here because we have such a great business in China, and we always need to figure out not just what the customer needs today, but what they need tomorrow.”

There will be much to discuss in the months ahead as Australian exporters reflect on their experiences of the week, but for the moment, this was undoubtedly a week of some significance for Australia and China. It highlights the potential for further growth and a growing confidence and awareness of the opportunities and pathways ahead.