A major annual import trade fair that wound down on Tuesday in Shanghai has proven to be a touchstone of the Chinese economy's transition to be consumption-powered, a growth booster - notably for food and farm produce traders.
The most attended area of this year's expo, which was nearly 30,000 square meters larger than the previous event, was food and farm produce, with 1,264 firms from 93 countries and regions taking part, Sun Chenghai, deputy director of the China International Import Expo Bureau, told a media briefing on Tuesday at the conclusion of the third China International Import Expo (CIIE).
Cumulative intended deals reached at this year's trade fair hit $72.62 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent from the second CIIE, according to Sun.
The bureau didn't provide a breakdown of the intended deals by sectors or markets.
The most attended exhibition area, one of the event's top attractions where numerous visitors have over the past few days had a first taste of free samples of a wide range of food and beverages, is considered to be among the most successful at the annual import expo.
Suning Carrefour's procurement at this year's CIIE is estimated at more than 200 million yuan ($30.3 million), equivalent to the total amount of its purchases at the previous two events, Zhang Qizhe, chief operating officer of Suning Carrefour, told the Global Times.
Carrefour bought more than 200 items from 10-plus countries and regions including Italy, France, Argentina, Vietnam, Peru and New Zealand at the trade fair, ranging from snack food and soft drinks to beer and wine.
Agriculture- and food-related deals were a big part of the UK's success at the third annual event. In a statement sent to the Global Times, the UK Embassy in China announced that UK firms secured more than 430 million pounds ($570.1 million) of commercial deals.
Its CIIE success includes a tie-up between Millennium Group and Suning International Sup's to introduce an array of British food and beverage brands to China's market.
U.S. food giant Cargill also looked to the annual event for growth, as the import product agreements it was estimated to have signed this year totaled $2.7 billion, comprising soybeans, beef, cereal and iron ore from across the globe.
"We have brought a lot of new things that have been developed as we cultivated and got feedback from Chinese consumers from the previous CIIE, and we will continue to collect feedback for new innovations," said Robert Aspell, president of Asia Pacific of Cargill Investments (China).
Voicing his confidence in the Chinese market, Aspell told the Global Times during the CIIE that the pandemic is under control in China and the economy has responded strongly.