The China International Import Expo plays a vital role in connecting business people around the world and in strengthening global trade ties, a leading Nigerian business community group said.

“The CIIE plays a very important role in connecting businesspeople from all over the world and in the promotion of international trade relations,” the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

The remarks of the business group were given as preparations for the third CIIE are underway, following the relatively effective containment of the novel coronavirus in the country. The expo is slated for Nov 5 to 10 in Shanghai.

The event fosters business relations between different countries and facilitates the distribution chain from international manufacturers to local consumers, the chamber said.

Temitope Akintunde, the chamber’s assistant director for international and public sector relations, said the Chinese economy remains “very strong and competitive” and the country is a leading exporter to many countries around the world.

Akintunde said the China-Nigeria relationship on both the diplomatic and economic levels has been further strengthened despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as China provided great support to Nigeria in curtailing the spread of the disease.

“Nigerian businesses are hopeful for sustained business and economic activities between China and Nigeria,” she said.

The LCCI is a leading private sector group based in Lagos, the largest and most populous city in Nigeria. It has over 2,000 corporate members. In the first and second editions of the CIIE, members of the chamber sealed transactions worth over $100 million.

When asked about her impression of the CIIE, Akintunde said the event is a first of its kind world-class meeting point for importers and exporters.

Thanks to the expo, the LCCI members have been able to interact with other businesspeople from different parts of the world and share their experiences together, Akintunde said.

“Our members have been able to get world-class products and services from genuine manufacturers, and increase their scale of doing business,” Akintunde said. “They have also been able to sell their products and services to China and some other countries.”

There have been decades of strong bilateral relations between China and Nigeria. China is currently Nigeria’s largest trading partner.

In 2019, the trade volume between China and Nigeria reached $19.27 billion and the growth rate was 26.3 percent year-on-year, ranking first among China’s top 40 trading partners, according to data released by the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria. China’s imports from Nigeria increased by 43.1 percent in 2019 on a yearly basis, the data showed.

Zhou Qingjie, a professor of the school of economics at Beijing Technology and Business University, said as the contagion has led to a global economic downturn, China is a major market that has quickly recovered from the pandemic. The Chinese market has enormous purchasing potential for equipment, raw material and consumer goods, he said.

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