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Calling small business to attend world’s largest import expo

2 May 2023
ITC News

The International Trade Centre invites small businesses from developing countries working in the processed food and consumer goods sectors to apply for a business training and attend the China International Import Expo 2023 from 1-10 November in Shanghai, China.

China is the world's second-largest importer and consumer, and the China International Import Expo (CIIE) is the largest import expo in the world. This creates enormous export opportunities for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) from developing countries.

The sixth CIIE edition will host government officials, business leaders, exhibitors, and professional buyers from around the world between 5 and 10 November 2023.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Academy for International Business Officials (AIBO) are planning to support 30 MSMEs from developing countries to participate in a 10-day training programme in China from 1-10 November (four days in Beijing, six days in Shanghai).

Training programme

The training (1 – 4 November) in Beijing includes topics on:

  • China's experience of reform, opening up and economic development;
  • China's preferential trading arrangements with developing countries;
  • Chinese market supervision and regulation requirements;
  • Chinese customs clearance procedures and requirements for imported products;
  • E-commerce development and cross-border e-commerce management procedures in China;
  • Field visits to a Chinese village (poverty alleviation case study), the Great Wall and big commodity market.

Activities during CIIE (5-10 November) in Shanghai include:

·       Exhibition and display of samples at the ITC booth during CIIE;

·       Business match-making and tailor-made B2B meetings.


AIBO and ITC will cover:

  • International travel costs – arrival in Beijing on 1 November and return from Shanghai on 10 November.
  • Intercity travel between Beijing and Shanghai.
  • Accommodations and meals in Beijing and Shanghai.
  • Local transport (airport-hotel-expo).
  • Visa arrangements (with letter of invitation from AIBO).
  • Exhibition booth space, furniture and set-up.
  • Preparatory workshops / webinars.
  • Promotional catalogues in English and Chinese. 
  • Matchmaking with buyers mobilized through various channels (for example, business sector associations in China, China-based Embassies, ITC booth).
  • Intensive logistical and coordination support prior and during the event including briefing session in Beijing prior to CIIE.
  • Advisory support for networking and business negotiations with potential buyers.
  • Limited interpretation assistance by volunteers and experts.
  • Follow-up to facilitate and monitor the status of initiated transactions, identify and help address possible challenges, capacity building and complementary technical assistance as part of related ITC projects.

The MSMEs need to cover the following costs:

  • Shipment of product samples/exhibiting materials, promotional material and related costs – with advice and relevant contacts to be provided by ITC;
  • Any additional expense during their travel and stay in China except the cost covered by the training program listed above.

Conditions for participation

To be eligible for receiving ITC’s and AIBO support in 2023, MSMEs should:

  • be active in the processed food or consumer goods sector.
  • be from a developing country.
  • be able to communicate in English (Chinese is an added value).
  • be export-ready (preferably already with export experience to developed economies such as United States, European Union, Japan, etc.).
  • have the capacity (quality and quantity) to export to China.
  • have products that can access the Chinese market and have knowledge of the import policies, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) requirements and conditions that are applicable for their products to access China (i.e., initiated or finalized registration for General Administration of Customs of China (GACC)).
  • be willing and in a position to ship representative samples.
  • have an operational and accessible website.
  • preferably have trade fair experience.
  • be able to provide high-quality marketing material and detailed specifications of their products/services (including pictures, pricing, Minimum Order Quantity, delivery conditions and payment terms).
  • be able to communicate through WeChat.

To be considered for selection you are required to submit:

  1. A fully completed application questionnaire by 15 May 2023.
  2. Copy of the company’s representative passport with validity of at least six months after 10 November 2023.
  3. Copy of the official registration / business license of your company.
  4. Logo of your company in high quality (about up to max 400–600 pixels wide for a large image; 100–200 for a thumbnail image, 72 DPI).
  5. A brochure and / or video of your company.
  6. A completed PPT template to serve as a concise catalog input to present your company and provide relevant contact, product and business details.

Please return and name the above documents as follows via e-mail to Rob Kohlmann rkohlmann [at] intracen.org (rkohlmann[at]intracen[dot]org) and Mao Tianyu tmao [at] intracen.org (tmao[at]intracen[dot]org)

Your Country

Your Company name

Item (=passport and/or business license and/or logo and/or brochure and/or video)

Please be informed that the application deadline is 15 May 2023 (CET) and any application received after that date will not be considered.

ITC is committed to ensuring a geographic balance among the selected participating MSMEs. Given the anticipated interest and limited number of participants, we appreciate your understanding that your company may not be among those selected for the training package. If your company is not selected, please let us know if you would be interested and able to participate in the CIIE from 5-10 November in Shanghai at your own expense (travel and accommodation), while ITC provides you with exhibition space at the ITC pavilion and facilitates your Expo registration.

Please note as per AIBO requirements that participants of the training event are required to provide a health check certificate at their own expense to apply for a visa through the relevant Chinese embassy in their country. Additionally, no family members or friends will be allowed to accompany participants to China during the training event.

As usual practice, ITC will also support service MSMEs from developing countries to participate in CIIE 2023. The terms of reference and the application link will be provided soon.

The International Trade Centre (ITC)

ITC is the only United Nations development agency fully dedicated to supporting the internationalization of MSMEs. ITC enables SMEs in developing economies to become more competitive and connect to international markets for trade and investment, thus raising incomes and creating job opportunities, especially for women, young people and poor communities. Established in 1964, ITC is the joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

For the sixth consecutive year, ITC supports the participation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) from developing countries in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China.

ITC has been an official CIIE sponsor since 2019. Over 260 ITC-supported MSMEs from 37 developing countries, especially least developed countries have participated in the event in previous years. As a result, companies established more than 825 new business contacts and prospective deals worth $55 million for new exports to China.

The Academy for International Business Officials (AIBO)

The Academy for International Business Officials (AIBO) is an educational and training institution established in 1980, and directly under the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China. One of the main responsibilities of AIBO is to implement human resources development and cooperation projects, especially training courses for officials. The Academy serves as the main base for China's foreign aid training, offering both off-line and on-line training in China and overseas. Backed by the Ministry of Commerce and in close cooperation with China's top think tanks, research institutes and universities, AIBO brings together a large number of China's top experts and scholars to provide intellectual support for foreign aid training. It has developed a number of high-quality foreign aid training projects in the fields of trade and investment, international economic cooperation, governance and public management, which have proved to be fruitful. 

Since 1998, AIBO has successfully held over 2,000 training sessions for officials from developing countries (including 124 ministerial seminars), benefiting nearly 59,000 trainees from other developing countries around the world.