China launches int'l fair to bolster trade, investment

About 50,000 business people from around the world are expected to take part in an annual international investment and trade fair that opened in southeast China Wednesday.

Vice President Xi Jinping officially opened the 14th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) by raising a symbolic "golden key" to open the exhibition hall in Xiamen, Fujian Province.

The four-day event has become one of China's most influential platforms for the promotion of trade and investment.

Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy, and senior officials from many countries attended the opening ceremony.

Chui Sai On, Chief Executive of Macao Special Administrative Region, also attended the ceremony, along with more than 400 domestic and overseas guests.

"Various countries are sparing no efforts in promoting a complete economic revival, and China is also accelerating its transformation of economic growth mode. All these will bring huge opportunities to investors," said Commerce Minister Chen Deming in his opening speech.

The Second World Investment Forum (WIF), sponsored by the UNCTAD, was also held in Xiamen to coincide with the CIFIT.

Chen said he hoped the fair would bring new opportunities and space for investors from abroad to deepen cooperation.

The fair will include investment and trade exhibitions and investment project matchmaking symposiums.

This year's fair will also include a special exhibition on energy saving with sections devoted to emissions reduction, new construction materials, environmental protection technology, and new and renewable energies.

The CIFIT, sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, has been held from Sept. 8 to 11 every year in Xiamen since 1997.

According to the Fujian Provincial Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, special pavilion days will be marked for central China's Henan Province, eastern Wenzhou city, northeastern Shenyang City and supermarket giant Walmart at this year's fair.

At a forum Tuesday for Walmart and Chinese city mayors, the retail giant announced it was considering expansion in China's small and medium-sized cities.

"China is a very important market for the global development of Walmart. The fact that the Chinese government is stimulating domestic demand and many areas are stepping up urbanization will have very positive influence on the retail industry," said Chen Yaochang, president and CEO of Walmart China.

Walmart had a lot of potential in its development in China, he said.

"We hope to find more and better projects in the country's small and medium-sized cities and provide services for more city communities," he said.

The forum was initiated by the fair's organizing committee and Walmart.


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