by Ye Zaiqi, Wu Xiaoling
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Oregon business leaders are expecting the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be a good opportunity for businesses from the western U.S. state to show their unique products and services off to Chinese consumers.
"The expo provides us with the opportunity to introduce our products to a wider audience of distributors, importers, and end users," said Rose Braden, president of the U.S. Softwood Export Council.
Braden said her council is part of the 12-member delegation that is heading for China on Saturday led by the Oregon-China Sister State Relations Council (OCSSRC).
"It is particularly important in light of the current trade situation for American trade organizations and suppliers to participate in trade shows and delegation missions to China to show our Chinese colleagues that American suppliers are committed to our long-term partnerships," Braden said.
Despite extra tariffs arising from the current U.S.-China trade spat, initiated by Washington under the pretext of reversing the trade imbalance the United States is allegedly suffering from, American softwood lumber and building materials continue to be shipped to China, she said.
"It is the hope of both U.S. suppliers and their customers in China that current tariff rates are short-lived," Braden said.
"The U.S. and China will continue to be important and long-term trading partners," she said.
She said the OCSSRC-led business group gathered representatives from Oregon manufacturing, government, and the Port of Portland, who hoped to learn about business opportunities and strengthen relationships with Chinese government and business representatives.
"The group is very excited about the opportunity to participate in the show," Braden added.
Data from the economic section of the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco showed that China is the largest trade partner in Asia for both the United States and Oregon state, and the trade volume between China and Oregon increased 91 times to reach 6.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 from 71 million dollars in 1997.
Oregon exports to China totaled 5.8 billion dollars in 2016 and generated more than 20,000 jobs for the state, according to the data.
Braden said the Softwood Export Council has been active in China for over 20 years, and it will set up a pavilion to present Chinese participants with Oregon's premium wood products at the CIIE, which is scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in the financial hub of Shanghai, east China.
The massive trade show is expected to attract 2,800 companies from over 130 countries and regions around the world.
Oregon is the largest wood-producing state in the United States, with 30.5 million acres of forest resources, accounting for 46 percent of the state's total area. It accounts for more than 16 percent of the U.S. softwood lumber production, and has led in this category for at least a decade, statistics of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute showed.
"The expo will help us to introduce Oregon products to people who are not yet familiar with them, and to further relationships with individuals who are already using products from Oregon," Braden said.
Among the OCSSRC group are other participants like representatives from Austin Dental Equipment Company (A-dec), a dental office furniture and equipment manufacturer founded 54 years ago and based in Newberg, Oregon, and a team from Clackamas County, the third most populous county in the northwest part of Oregon.
Jim Bernard, Clackamas County commission chair who leads the county government, told Xinhua that it is the first time for him to visit China along with the OCSSRC delegation to seek opportunities for the county's businesses.
"We hope to learn more about common concerns, and new advancement in trade and practices ... and learn about the similarities we share with their sister communities in China, especially economic goals and interests," he said.
Many Clackamas County and Oregon businesses engage in trade with China, and the county leadership wants to support its local business community by understanding issues and concerns, as well as opportunities to further relationships and markets for businesses to be successful, he said.
Bernard noted that his county hopes to develop long-term relationships that will foster business development and tourism in Clackamas.
Stella Wei, A-dec marketing specialist, said the Shanghai expo is a government-led international business show serving as a bridge connecting China with the United States and the rest of the world in trade and economic exchanges.
"We will bring the best of our products to Chinese customers," she said, citing her company's A-dec 300 Radius System for dental care, which features pressure mapped, contoured surfaces and virtual pivot backs that ensure patient comfort and support.
She said the system is the only dental care product with a five-year guarantee on the market. "I hope our products will serve Chinese people as the potential of the Chinese dental care market is being tapped with a growing number of dentists working in the profession and booming private dentist clinics in the country."
OCSSRC Chairman Jin Lan said the CIIE highlights the Chinese government's determination to continue China's reform and open-up policy, which demonstrates to the U.S. business community that China remains open to their business opportunities and investment.
"This is a sharp contrast to the unilateral protectionism being pursued by the U.S. government," he said.
The OCSSRC's participation underpins the close cooperation and trade ties between China and Oregon, particularly in the fields of green energy and sustainable development.
"As global protectionism is rising gradually, the Shanghai expo is a good manifestation of American companies' confidence in the Chinese market," he said.