The UK will showcase its innovation and creativity in the upcoming 2018 China International Import Expo (CIIE), said John Edwards, British consul-general in Shanghai.
According to Edwards, Britain, as the expo's guest of honor, will send a high-level delegation to attend the week-long event, which will open on Nov. 5 in Shanghai. The delegation will include a member of the British royal family and officials from the British government.
The UK will play an active role in all three parts of the expo, namely the country-pavilion exhibition, business exhibition and the Hongqiao International Trade Forum.
A UK pavilion will be set up to display the country's innovative cultural products, said Edwards. Virtual reality (VR) videos will be shown in the pavilion to provide an interactive experience for the visitors.
"Innovation will be the keyword of the UK national pavilion," said Edwards. "National pavilions are not to buy and sell, but where you can come and see the distinct features of the countries and enjoy them."
A total of 30 British companies from different sectors, including finance, retail, healthcare, culture, education and high-end manufacturing, will participate in the business exhibition. Apart from big multinational companies like HSBC and Standard Chartered that have achieved success in China for years, emerging British companies will also seek opportunities during the expo.
"CIIE is a great opportunity for companies to enter the Chinese market," said Edwards. "Doing business is a long process. Before you do business in China, you have to understand China."
He added that CIIE will provide the newcomers with the opportunity to understand the Chinese market and consumers and find Chinese business partners.
Besides the country pavilion and business exhibition, he expects that the Hongqiao International Trade Forum will offer wisdom for boosting global trade and promoting the growth of the world economy.
"This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, which created China's economic miracle. CIIE comes in at a very important point as China enters into the next period of reform and opening-up," Edwards said. "CIIE is not a one-off but sustained opening-up. It's not a normal standard trade fair but a very special symbol of China's opening-up."
According to China's Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade volume between China and Britain reached 79.03 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, with China's imports from Britain up 19.4 percent year on year. Britain is China's second-largest trading partner within the European Union (EU), and China is Britain's second-largest non-EU trading partner.
Edwards said, as the two countries seek to further promote the Golden-Era strategic partnership, more and more British companies have entered the Chinese market in the past two years.
He expects to see deeper cooperation between the two countries in areas such as trade, finance and education in the future.