The second China International Import Expo (CIIE) brings together the Pacific island countries' exhibitors and Chinese buyers separated by vast oceans, offering huge market to local specialties from these countries.

Shan Yuqiang, head of the South Pacific Islands Union Pavilion, said the import expo helps not only expand the popularity and influence of products from Pacific island countries among Chinese consumers, but also expand the model of international trade between countries.

There are few exhibitions worldwide like the CIIE where firms can promote various products such as coffee, chocolate and Kava Wine from Vanuatu, said Judy Robert, marketing and promotions officer of the Department of Industry in Vanuatu.

"More importantly, the benefit will flow down all the way to the grassroots level, which is our farmers," said Robert.

For small businesses from Pacific island countries, China's e-commerce platforms not only bring orders, but also save them the costs to open brick-and-mortar stores in China.

"We spoke to many Chinese e-commerce platforms at the expo and we're trying to collaborate with them," said Samuela Savou, a staff worker of the Fiji booth who is dressed in traditional national costumes of the Pacific island country.

Savou invited visitors to try the unique taste of Noni juice. "It doesn't smell or taste so pleasant but it's good for your health," said Savou, also a senior research fellow of the Research Center for Pacific Studies at the Beijing Foreign Studies University.

At the Papua New Guinea booth, some well-designed earrings and necklaces sparkle among many local products such as coconut oil and coffee.

Anthony Korau, an official from the Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry of Papua New Guinea, said this year they bring to the CIIE more products from small and medium-sized enterprises founded by women entrepreneurs.

"In the past, women are given fewer opportunities to take part in business, so we want to encourage them as much as possible by introducing them to this big market in China," said Korau. "Many of those women don't know much about China yet, but we told them that there's a big potential in the Chinese market and we just have to tap into it."

During the second CIIE, the South Pacific Islands Union Pavilion signed agreements to set up subsidiaries in the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Qingdao and Hangzhou to bring the products to more Chinese customers.

Source: China ASEAN Business Council