At the entrances of each section of the ongoing second China International Import Expo (CIIE), one can hardly ignore the frequent appearance of the sign reading "U.S." in the nationality column of participating firms on billboards.
At the expo covering practically every aspect of human activities, a fleet of 192 U.S. companies are vying for a share of the Chinese market, uninfluenced by trade woes started by their government.
Regarding the saying that no senior U.S. officials would attend the fair, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said last week it's no big deal.
U.S. businesses are well represented. U.S. firms are covering an exhibition area of 47,500 square meters at the event this year, topping the rest of the CIIE club. Up-to-date technologies and products from manufacturing to telecommunications, automobiles and agriculture are available at their booths.
Ardor for this year's version has been building up since the first import expo, something never seen in the United States, Europe, or any other places in the world.
Varian Medical Systems, a U.S. leading company in radiotherapy, is debuting an artificial intelligence-powered personalized cancer care delivery system in Asia.
"We signed Letters of Intent worth over 841 million U.S. dollars during the first CIIE even when we weren't an exhibitor. The CIIE truly is a first-class platform," said Zhang Xiao, president of the company's Greater China Region.
Technology giant Honeywell International Inc. triples its exhibition area compared to last year and brings more than 30 leading technologies including connected aircraft, connected building, connected manufacturing, connected distribution center safety solutions and efficiency.
Some of these solutions would be unveiled in China for the first time, said Shane Tedjarati, president of Honeywell's global high-growth regions.
Johnson & Johnson, one of the world's largest and most broadly-based healthcare companies, are debuting many products for China and for the world market.
"The China market is such a big one, that Johnson & Johnson is not only here to stay, we are continuously growing with it," said Will Song, chairman of Johnson & Johnson China.
CONFIDENCE IN CHINESE MARKET
Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Roberto Azevedo stressed the importance of predictability of world economic performance at the CIIE.
"Trade related policy uncertainty has become the leading drag on growth, on trade and investment. We cannot afford to let this continue," said the WTO chief.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his opening speech at the current CIIE that "We need to 'join hands' with each other instead of 'letting go' of each other's hands. We need to 'tear down walls,' not to 'erect walls.'"
Dow Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Varian Medical Systems, said he is "deeply encouraged, especially under the current global environment with uncertainties, President Xi's remarks sent a very positive and stable signal, which definitely further built up our confidence as a multinational company."
The open economy of China, China's innovative wisdom and the huge potential of the Chinese market, all are cornerstones for Varian's global development, said Wilson.
Grant F. Reid, president of food products manufacturer Mars Incorporated, said they have "witnessed China's resolve towards opening-up and promoting trade liberalization."
"As a beneficiary of China's deepened reform and opening-up policy, Mars will continue to support this strategic vision and contribute to a better world we want tomorrow," Reid said.
Ju Heng, engineering firm AECOM's China regional leader, said it is "inspirational and reassuring to hear from President Xi's speech on his vision of continuing to expand market opening-up and improve business environment."
It will for sure further strengthen the company's development strategy and investment plan in China as a global company, said Ju.
"SEE YOU AT THIRD CIIE"
Many U.S. firms have confirmed intentions to come back next year. Some, including big names like Dell, Ford and Johnson & Johnson, have signed contracts with the CIIE authorities for the third expo.
The CIIE is an important initiative as the government takes concrete measures to open up the market and build an open, inclusive international business environment, said Johnson & Johnson China's Song.
The increasing number of exhibitors and innovative products are strong evidence of the event's growing appeal, said Song.
Varian Medical Systems signed up for the third CIIE even before the opening of this year's show.
"The grand event of CIIE speaks loud of China's opening. It shows China's promise to further reform and opening up," said Varian's Wilson.
"I have full confidence in China's development," he added.
This year's expo kicked off Tuesday in Shanghai and runs through Sunday. A total of 155 countries and regions as well as 26 international organizations are attending the event. Enditem