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Delegation visits UK to promote upcoming 135th Canton Fair

By XING YI in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-03-02 03:43

A promotional conference of the 135thCanton Fair took place in London on Thursday. [Xing Yi/ China Daily]

A delegation representing the China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, considered one of China's oldest and largest trade shows, visited the United Kingdom this week to promote the upcoming 135th edition of the event in April in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

At a promotional conference in London on Thursday, Chu Shijia, the director-general of the China Foreign Trade Centre, the primary organizer of the fair, presented the features of the upcoming edition to over 100 representatives from the British business community.

Running from April 15 to May 5, the 135th Canton Fair is divided into three phases for different categories of products – ranging from consumer electronics and household appliances to gifts and decorative materials, as well as textiles and medical devices.

With an exhibition area of more than 1.55 million square meters and an average of 28,000 exhibitors for each edition in recent years, the Canton Fair provides one-stop procurement solutions for global buyers. The previous edition of the Canton Fair concluded with signed export deals worth $22.3 billion.

"Each year around 30,000 UK businesspeople participate in the Canton Fair, and we welcome more British businesses to come to the fair to make not only deals but also friends," said Chu, adding that business representatives can get 144-hour visas upon arrival to attend the fair.

Bao Ling, minister for economic and commercial affairs at the Chinese Embassy in the UK, stated that the volume of UK-China trade in 2023 exceeded 100 billion pounds ($126 billion), emphasizing the complementary nature of the two countries' economies and the significant potential for further growth.

"The Canton Fair plays a very important role in the China-UK economic exchanges," said Bao.

Lise Bertelsen, executive director of the China-Britain Business Council, said she believes there is a vital necessity for British businesses to work with their Chinese counterparts despite geopolitical tensions.

"Having a close relationship in the realm of business can provide a foundation from which we can build mutual understanding on many other fronts," she said. "Sharing in each other's wealth and prosperity translates into tens of thousands of jobs across our nations."

Fang Wenjian, chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK, highlighted that the Canton Fair represents more than just a trade event; it symbolizes China's commitment to openness, or "opening up". He emphasized that the fair has made substantial contributions not only to the Chinese economy but also to the global economy.

Fang, also general manager of the Bank of China London Branch, said the bank will provide one-stop financial services and organize matchmaking sessions for buyers and suppliers across the world.

Jack Perry Junior, president of the 48 Group Club, recalled his organization’s historical connection with China in the 1950s, and its role in breaking the trade embargo imposed on China by the West at that time.

Perry drew parallels between historical events and the present, emphasizing the significance of UK-China trade and business while reiterating the organization's strong support for the Canton Fair.

"When there are clouds above, we can get through all difficult situations in the future through business, talking, and sharing," he said. "It's a proud moment to be able to say that we're going and we hope that a lot of UK businesses come with us to support business going forward."

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