Deputies from the Shanghai delegation to the National People's Congress said they expected new measures to facilitate the entry of exhibits from overseas for the China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November.
Easier access for exhibits is crucial to the success of the CIIE, which will cover an area of more than 240,000 square meters, almost double that of the annual East China Fair, one of the largest exhibitions in the country, deputies said.[Special coverage]
In some cases in the past, an international exhibition would have begun though some items from abroad meant for the exhibition were still at customs for inspection, said lawmaker Zhang Weimin, who is also assistant to the general manager of Shanghai International Trade Promotion Co under Shanghai East Best & Lansheng International (Group) Co.
"We've also encountered some foreign exhibitors who were afraid that there would not be enough time for their exhibits to undergo inspection at customs and instead brought the items along in their personal luggage," said Zhang, who had more than 10 years of experience running large-scale exhibitions, including the East China Fair.
"It does not help official supervision and we must learn a lesson from it," said Zhang, whose company is responsible for inviting exhibitors and vendors to the CIIE in the areas of high-end equipment such as aviation, space equipment and robots and their key components.
There will be thousands of exhibitors participating in the exhibition and the workload for customs will be overwhelming, Zhang said.
"Therefore, I suggest easier access measures, such as reducing the inspection rate for exhibits from overseas on the basis of the host of the exhibition conducting a thorough background check of the exhibitors," he said. The current inspection rate at customs is between 5 and 10 percent, he added.
Other measures may include customs allowing the release of the goods with a deposit as collateral and those inviting the exhibitors endorsing them.
"Without a doubt, items such as seeds and soil that must be subject to official inspection to enter the country, owing to the possibility of containing harmful species, should still obey rigorous inspection procedures," Zhang said.
He said that once an exhibition from an Asian country included a postcard with seeds buried inside. When users watered the postcard, the seeds would sprout.
Another deputy, Wang Wei, said, "A special lane designated for exhibits bound for the CIIE could be established at customs ... to make the inspection faster and more convenient."
She is also deputy general manager of Shanghai Textile Decoration Corp and has decades of experience in foreign trade.
Deputies said the suggested new measures will contribute to the city's efforts to become a hub for fairs and exhibitions and build itself into an international trade center.