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Manufacturers grapple to secure overseas orders

(Xinhua)

10:14, April 16, 2012

A record number of 1.11 million overseas buyers have been invited to the 111th Canton Fair, which opens Sunday in Guangzhou, in a bid to spur the sluggish trade growth since January, organizers said.

The spring session of the Canton Fair, China's largest trade fair, is considered to be a good opportunity for the country's foreign trade enterprises to boost exports.

This is especially important when China's foreign trade volume only increased 7.3 percent year on year in the first quarter to reach 859.37 billion U.S. dollars.

Opening on the theme of "new starting point, new opportunities, new challenges," the trade session will strive to help stabilize the country's foreign trade growth rate at 10 percent, said Deputy Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan.

The 7.3-percent growth of imports and exports in the January-March period marked the slowest level since the fourth quarter of 2009, according to data released by the the General Administration of Customs (GAC) early this week.

It is even more disturbing when the export-oriented provinces in China, including Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, have reported a slow growth rate of between 3 percent and 5 percent during the first quarter of the year, according to GAC.

Managers of some Chinese enterprises at the fair agreed that the uncertainty of the world economy, the sluggish recovery of the international market, increasing cost and worsening trade frictions have contributed to the harsh foreign trade situation.

Facing great pressures, many Chinese companies have resorted to various measures to promote exports such as targeting relatively remote foreign markets or upgrading the quality of the products.

Under such complex circumstances, the trade fair adopted a series of new measures to attract overseas buyers, such as offering free admission to new buyers and attracting buyers via social networking websites.

More than 200,000 buyers are expected to attend this year's spring session, Liu Jianjun, spokesman for the fair said at a press conference Saturday.

Canton Fair is China's largest trade fair and a key indicator of the country's trade and economic development. The fair has been held every spring and autumn in Guangzhou since 1957.

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