Lean times at Canton Fair

Updated: 2012-10-28 23:46

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily)

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Exporters note the drag of weak United States, Japanese demand

The second session of the 112th China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, saw 7.67 percent fewer transactions than the same session at the previous fair due to the sluggish demand from the United States and Japan, the organizers said.

Lean times at Canton Fair

Two visitors sample an innovative product, a television that can interact with audiences, at a booth at the 112th China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, on Oct 17. [Photo/Xinhua] 

The second session, which ended on Saturday and specialized in toys and gifts, crafts, garden tools and supplies and local specialties, saw 147,732 overseas buyers, 11.4 percent less than the last session, the organizers said.

"It was almost the same trend this time: There are not many buyers," said Lin Wei, the general manager of Big Tree Toys in Shantou, Guangdong province.

Transactions from the US fell by 10.91 percent compared with the same session of the previous fair, the organizers said.

Garden tools and supplies transactions from Japan declined by 68.16 percent compared with the second session at the last autumn fair, the organizers said.

"Luckily, we do not sell toys to Japan. But demand in the traditional market, including the US and Europe, remains slow. We are now developing new markets," Lin said.

The first session, which opened Oct 15, specialized in manufacturing, and the third, starting on Wednesday, will specialize in clothing.

Up to 80 percent of Chinese exporters said the orders for the fourth quarter this year have declined or remain the same as that period last year, according to the fair organizer's most recent survey of more than 1,000 Chinese exporters.

Although the fair has seen fewer transactions this time, the Ministry of Commerce said China's foreign trade will pick up in the fourth quarter this year, according to Xinhua News Agency.

China's foreign trade hit $2.84 trillion in the first nine months, up 6.2 percent year-on-year, the ministry said.

Export growth in September jumped to 9.9 percent year-on-year to $186.35 billion, up from 1 percent in July and 2.7 percent in August.

"In view of the domestic and global economic situation, China's foreign trade in the fourth quarter is expected to maintain the rebound that emerged in September and grow at the average speed of the first three quarters," ministry spokesman Yao Jian was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

China's industrial enterprises also realized a profit of 464.3 billion yuan ($74.41 billion) in September, a 7.8 percent year-on-year increase, according to the National Bureau of Statistics on Sunday.

The profit in September was the first positive growth the nation's industrial enterprises registered this year.

However, Yao cautioned that China still faced a "grim and complicated environment" in foreign trade, saying global demand remains weak while international competition and trade frictions were intensifying.

Cai Xuqing, general manager of Chaozhou Chenhui Ceramics Group, said the company has been hit hard by the European Commission's anti-dumping investigation of Chinese kitchen ceramics.

"For the whole year, a year-on-year decrease of some 20 percent is predicted, given that the euro debt crisis is still continuing and the anti-dumping investigation has further clouded Chinese exporters' prospects," Cai said.

The company, which ships most of its products to the European market, saw its sales drop by more than 30 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, Cai said.

Contact the writer at qiuquanlin@chinadaily.com.cn