Over $57.8 billion worth of new contracts were inked during the six-day China International Import Expo, according to state media, during which the country rebranded itself as the ‘world’s importer’ and a bastion of free trade.
High-end intelligent equipment made up a large portion of the deals at $16.5 billion worth. A further $12 billion were signed relating to the auto sector.
Food and agriculture were also popular among Chinese buyers, who agreed to $12.7 billion in new agreements. Other major sectors included medical equipment, trade services and apparel.
Representatives of 3,617 companies from 151 countries attended the expo, state media said, including many members of China’s heavily-publicised Belt and Road Initiative. Deals made with BRI countries came to $4.7 billion, said the official the official bureau of the expo.
Some foreign attendees, however, criticised the event as a marketing tool for Beijing, rather than a promotion of free trade.
“Everything you saw at the signing ceremony was theatre or farce. I’m essentially an actor, hired for the duration of the expo, in order to give the impression of international cooperation,” one participant told Reuters.