Canton Fair opens in China

Beijing, Oct 18, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) China’s largest trade expo, the Canton Fair, opened Friday in the southern Guangdong province amid growing concerns that a stronger yuan would weigh on the country’s exports.

Over 23,500 firms from China and abroad are participating in the fair in Guangzhou provincial capital, organizers said.

Sellers and buyers at the fair are monitoring closely the latest developments in the yuan exchange rate, China Daily reported Friday.

‘We are under great pressure. Should the exchange rate rise rapidly, many of us will be out of business,’ said Dai Chao, export manager of the privately owned Wanjiale Gas Appliances company.

It sells gas appliances in the eastern European and south American countries.

Dai’s voice was echoed by many small and medium-sized companies at the fair.

‘An abrupt appreciation of the yuan would devastate the smaller exporters whose profit margin mostly ranges from two to five percent,’ said Liu Jianjun, spokesman for the 108th Canton Fair.

‘We are keeping a close eye on the upcoming US government report on the currency practices of China,’ said Liu Guizhong, head of the overseas market department of Glanz, a leading Chinese manufacturer of home appliances.

The US Treasury Department’s report on exchange rates was due to be published Oct 15. The market is worried if the US would list China as ‘currency manipulator’.

Analysts say China’s currency policy has been stigmatized by some US politicians who are trying to use it as a scapegoat for the weak economy and job losses in the US as the mid-term polls approach.

‘Pushing for the appreciation of the yuan for political gains will only hurt the global market. Exchange rate changes should be based on the real conditions of China’s economy and the trade market,’ said Su Jing, a foreign trade official with the commerce ministry.

The Canton Fair has been China’s largest biannual trade fair since it began in 1957. Exhibits at the fair include mechanical, electrical, textiles, healthcare and food products, among others.

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