In 2007, the 50-year-old Chinese Export Commodities Fair welcomed a new development - adding imports to its portfolio. Thus the fair transformed itself into an export and import trade event.
That October former Premier Wen Jiabao announced that the fair would formally change its name to the Chinese Import and Export Fair. The addition of import trade has been one the most significant reforms of the fair in its six decades of history. Placing the word "import" in its name reflected China’s effort to play an active role in building a global multilateral trade mechanism. It also signaled the determination to of the country to expand its imports and push for the balanced development of foreign trade.
The Canton Fair International Pavilion has not been running for 19 biennial sessions. The exhibition has kept up with the times and become more and more international and professional. Exhibitors from all over the world, especially from the United States, the European Union, the Middle East and Southeast Asia are active in expanding their booths in the International Pavilion, recognizing that the Chinese market is now more open.
The scale of the International Pavilion is expanding with more professional services provided. Hot lines for exhibitors are provided. The layout of the exhibition is more reasonably divided by different industries and categories. Positively responding to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the fair enhances cooperation with countries along the route. Last year about 60 percent of the exhibitors at the International Pavilion were from such nations.
After 10 years of reform and development, the globalization of the fair has improved. The International Pavilion has attracted more than 10,000 exhibitors from 108 countries and regions, including India, Turkey, Korea, Japan, Germany, Australia and Argentina. The proportion of exhibitors from developed countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Portugal, is increasing to the point where they represented over 50 percent of all exhibitors in 2015.
Thanks to continuous innovation and upgrading, the Canton Fair has forged a new path for imports and built up a convenient and effective trade platform with high-quality overseas products for Chinese buyers, contributing to the promotion of a balance between imports and exports.
(By Wing Xie, Louis Berney)