Canton Fair readies for 116th go

Updated: 2014-09-05 12:22

By Amy He in New York(China Daily USA)

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The Canton Fair, the largest trade shows in the world, will be kicking off its 116th session this October.

The Consulate General of China in New York, the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, and China Southern Airlines put together an event on Thursday at GNYCC's office to introduce the show to buyers in the New York area.

"It is the largest business fair in the world, and it's very important for people to be able to source and buy products at a competitive rate worldwide," Mark Jaffe, president and CEO of the Greater New York Chamber, told China Daily.

"That's what capitalism is about and that's what the Greater New York Chamber is here for, to promote the Canton Fair and all the opportunities for people in our membership."

The Greater New York Chamber of Commerce represents 30,000 individuals, startups and entrepreneurs and a "significant portion" of the attendees at the Canton Fair are American New York businesses interested in sourcing and selling their products in China, Jaffe said.

"At the end of the day, American companies are buying and selling at the Canton Fair," Jaffe added. "So it's good for business, it's good for entrepreneurship, it allows for smaller companies to get exposure and growth, as well as it levels the playing field, because larger companies participate too."

Since its inception in 1957, the Canton Fair has been held biannually in the southern China city of Guangzhou every spring and fall. It is the longest-running trade show in China and now features more than 58,000 booths each session. The fair covers an exhibition space of more than 1.12 million square meters and more than 200,000 professionals from 210 countries gather to buy and sell goods.

The fair, co-hosted by China's Ministry of Commerce and the government of Guangdong province, most recently had its spring fair in April and May and it attracted more than 188,000 buyers from 214 countries, the China Foreign Trade Center said.

"Currently, the international economic situation is complicated and volatile," the trade center said in a brochure. "As the premium platform for economic and trade cooperation between China and other countries, the 116th Canton Fair will attract even more attention from the world."

Liu Yi, a commercial counselor at the Consulate General, said that the trade show sometimes acts as a "snapshot of China-US economic relations".

Over the years, "China-US business ties have become stronger and more beneficial to both sides. We are each other's second-largest trading partners with bilateral trade exceeding $520 billion US dollars last year and China is the US' largest source of imports", Liu said at the event.

China Southern Airlines, which recently launched the first ever direct flight service between New York and Guangzhou, offers 10-to-15 percent discounts on airfare for buyers and sellers traveling to the fair, according to James Cai, sales manager of China Southern Airlines in New York.

"Even during the days of the Qing Dynasty when China locked itself off from the outside world, Guangzhou still remained the only legal trading port in China," he said. "We want to do our part in helping connect people to do business."

(China Daily USA 09/05/2014 page1)