Emerging markets pad fall in Chinese export orders

Updated: 2011-11-05 08:20

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

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Emerging markets pad fall in Chinese export orders

GUANGZHOU - China's signature trade fair has seen a growth in orders from emerging markets, cushioning a drop in Chinese exports to developed markets.

Orders from African, Asian and Latin American buyers at the 110th China Import and Export Fair - a barometer of China's foreign trade - have increased 39 percent compared with the last session in April and May.

Orders placed by buyers from emerging markets including India, Russia and Brazil were up 9 percent.

"There is still a growing demand in the emerging markets," said Liang Guiquan, director of the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences.

"Exporters should shift their focus to the global market, and most importantly should upgrade their businesses to cater to the traditional market, which is no longer eyeing the labor-intensive and lower-quality Chinese products," Liang said.

The fair ended in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Friday. Although the number of buyers from Europe and the United States increased slightly compared with the last session, they adopted a wait-and-see attitude when negotiating with Chinese exporters, said Liu Jianjun, deputy director of China Foreign Trade Center, which organizes the fair.

Orders signed by European buyers at the fair, also known as the Canton Fair, declined 19 percent, while those signed by US buyers were down 24 percent, Liu said. "They came, but were not ready to buy Chinese products amid uncertain global economic conditions," Liu said.

Quality and costs were two major factors hindering French buyer Kaddouri Habib-Alex from buying a lot at the fair.

"We Europeans have already manufactured a wide range of products that are similar with the Chinese goods. If products from China are made with lower quality, they will not be popular," he said.

The French buyer did place a few orders of sports-related goods at the fair.

"The price of Chinese goods has risen greatly each time when I come to the Canton Fair. I may suffer a big loss if I continue to buy a large amount of Chinese goods," he said.

However, Rosa Ng Baez, representative of the Commercial Development Office of the Dominican Republic in Beijing, said Chinese products have been becoming more popular in the South American country.

"European countries and the US have stopped buying more Chinese products due to the uncertain global market. But we Dominicans are buying more," she said.

Import push

The fair, which used to focus on Chinese exports, has increasingly played a role in boosting imports from overseas markets, Liu said.

The fair launched exhibitions for foreign products since 2006.

"We will further expand the import section next year. A growing number of overseas manufacturers have shown great interest in bringing their products to China," Liu said.

The 110th Canton Fair has earmarked some 20,000 square meters for foreign products, with many global powerhouses such as General Electric and Coca-Cola displaying their products.

"We will organize more networking events at the fair for overseas manufacturers to find Chinese buyers," he said.

China is keen to boost imports to promote the trade balance.

In a signed article in the Daily Telegraph on Friday, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said China has pledged to open its domestic market in the years ahead, with its import volume expected to exceed $1.7 trillion this year, up from last year's $1.39 trillion.

"China's import volume will total $10 trillion in the next five years, almost balancing the export volume," he said.