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Foreign businesses at Canton Fair say China's stimulus spurs world trade
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08:13, April 17, 2009

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China's economic growth in the first quarter shows that its massive stimulus plan has started to have impact on world trade, according to foreign business executives Thursday at the 105th China Import and Export Fair, also Canton Fair.

"China's stimulus package helps its economy to be much more stable than other Asian nations," said C.K. Kim, general manager of the Republic of Korea's Tong Yang Magic Co. Ltd, at the fair in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province.

"We are benefiting from the plans," Kim said. His home appliance companies have attended the fair three times in a bid to seek buyers across the world.

Kim said he has brought many new high-tech products and planned to increase sales at the fair to two million U.S. dollars from 500,000 U.S. dollars a year ago.

China's gross domestic product expanded 6.1 percent year on year in the first quarter of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday.

Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday that government stimulus moves had begun to produce results and the economy was now in "better-than-expected" shape.

Wen cited pick-ups in investment, consumption and industrial output, abundant liquidity in the banking system, and improved market expectations as signs of those "positive changes."

"To maintain stable and relatively fast growth would be China's biggest contribution to the world," said Zhao Jinping, deputy director of the Foreign Economic Department of the State Council's Development Research Center. "The consumption growth in the world's most populous nation will help revive the world economy."

Executives at some other businesses said they hoped sales in China would help cover losses in other parts of the world.

A candle maker in Thailand, Mamos Intertrade Co. Ltd, was eager to find Chinese dealers. The company had to explore a new market in China for the first time as orders from Europe, Japan and the Middle East dropped 50 percent.

"China is a brand new big market. Its economy is stable and is beginning to recover from the global financial crisis," said Damrong Waitayachot, the company's marketing manager. He added he had talked to more than 20 Chinese businessmen at the fair.

Many businesspeople said they saw many countries' stimulus plans begin to feed through into the economy and China's version would have stronger impacts.

American ladder seller Ernie Couillard said both China and the United States had launched huge stimulus plans and he had benefited from the American stimulus.

"I believe Chinese plan will also benefit me in the future," said Couillard who opened a ladder factory in Guangdong five years ago and also runs the business in the U.S.

"The Chinese government has a strong control on its economy. I think it will be more powerful soon," he said.

However, some Chinese economists and businessmen said the "positive changes" in Chinese economy in the first quarter do not equal to revival from the crisis.

"Orders for the low- and middle- end products kept decreasing over the past months. We have tried a series of measures to boost sales," said Cai Jingquan, vice general manager of Ningbo Aux Import and Export Co. Ltd. from the eastern province of Zhejiang.

Despite the global crisis, the number of overseas buyers will not drop sharply at the Canton Fair, said Wen Zhongliang, a Ministry of Commerce official.

As the largest import and export fair in China, the Canton Fair saw a drop of 10 percent in term of buyers from last year. The fair, which runs from April 15 to May 7, had 30,881 buyers on its first day.


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