Monday, October 16, 2006

New focus for Canton Fair

The China Export Commodities Fair (better known as the Canton Fair) is the largest trade fair in Asia - by far. For 50 years, it has been held twice a year and served for much of its life as the only source of Chinese manufactured products for China traders. It was distinguished by its focus: Chinese trading companies met international buyers. Many product categories, but one-way trade.

As today's People's Daily points out, that focus is about to change (and this has been the talk of the town for those in the business for a number of weeks now):

The 50-year-old Chinese Export Commodities Fair, which used to be the only international showcase for Chinese products, changed its name to the Chinese Import and Export Commodities Fair on Sunday evening.

Adding the word "import" to its name reflects an adjustment in China's economic development mode, which has featured the expansion of exports for more than two decades, according to experts.

There may be excellent commercial reasons for this. However, the Canton Fair has always been closely linked with the political development of China as well. It is owned by the Ministry of Commerce. Today's news is not unrelated to the story from last Thursday which Bloomberg headlined as "China Posts Second-Biggest Trade Surplus on Record".

We shall watch with interest as the Canton Fair team turns its focus onto Chinese buyers and international sellers - the exact reverse of what it has been doing for the past 50 years.

Update: Playing around with these Technorati tags led me to a small sub-set of the blogging world of which I wasn't previously aware - Canton Fair blogs. Check out:

Cathy's Canton Fair blog
Onemanbandwidth (odd blog this)

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