Belt and Road Initiative boosts Canton Fair
GUANGZHOU - The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has brought more business opportunities to the China Import and Export Fair, commonly known as the Canton Fair.
Trade associations reported rises in the number of buyers from countries along the Belt and Road, contributing to transaction growth at the world's largest comprehensive trade fair.
Boosted by market recovery and the Belt and Road Initiative, nearly 80 percent of exhibitors reported increases in buyers, according to the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Imports & Exports.
Held in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, every spring and autumn, Canton Fair is seen as a barometer of China's foreign trade.
Al-hamimi Hasan of Yemen said he saw more buyers at the autumn session than at the spring one this year.
Hasan, who has attended the fair for 14 years, said the product upgrading at the trade fair, particularly with lamps, led to a strong market in the Middle East.
An increase in traders from countries along the Belt and Road mirrored the recovery of China's foreign trade.
The General Administration of Customs said the country's foreign trade volume rose 16.6 percent to 20.29 trillion yuan ($3.08 trillion) in the first three quarters of the year.
Exports increased 12.4 percent to 11.16 trillion yuan, while imports surged 22.3 percent to 9.13 trillion yuan.
The number of buyers from the United Arab Emirates, China's second-largest trading partner in the Middle East, increased 5 percent.
Mohamed Alzaabi, a director with the UAE Ministry of Economy, said the UAE had sent groups to the fair since 2007, and that all members hoped for business cooperation with China.
He said that more than 4,000 Chinese enterprises had operations in the UAE, with bilateral trade reaching $46 billion in 2016.
The Belt and Road Initiative aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along - and beyond - the ancient Silk Road trade routes. The modern version comprises an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
As the Belt and Road Initiative advances, China has signed a number of infrastructure construction deals with related countries, including Thailand, Bangladesh, Greece and Kenya.
The construction deals drive up demand for China's construction machinery.
Wang Falin, an official with the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, said China's exports of construction machinery were expected to see steady growth as the countries along the Belt and Road started to improve their infrastructure.
China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Imports & Exports said its members had reported remarkable growth in transaction value with countries such as Uzbekistan, Nepal and Serbia.
Tianjin Minmetals, one of the traders, has even set up sales representative offices in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The fair attracted 620 exhibitors from 33 countries and regions, with nearly 60 percent from countries and regions along the Belt and Road, including Egypt, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Thailand.
Forty-five Turkish firms attended the fair.
A total of 100 Turkish firms intended to attend the fair, but due to the exhibition space limit, only half managed to attend, said Gulin, an official with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce.