Canton Fair to boost Italy-China commercial ties

Updated: 2012-06-13 16:56


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MILAN -- The upcoming 112th biannual Canton Fair, or China Import and Export Fair, was discussed at a press conference here Tuesday, and is expected to further promote Italy-China economic ties.

The fair, founded by the Chinese government in 1957 and the largest trade fair in China, not only fosters international commercial exchange but also provides a unique platform for sharing knowledge and information, Liu Jianjun, deputy director-general of the China Foreign Trade Center, told the press conference in Milan.

With an exhibition area of 1.16 million square meters and over 210,000 buyers from more than 210 countries and regions in the world, the fair enhances the leadership of best-performing enterprises in the competitive international market, he said.

"The fair also attaches a lot of importance to innovation, and has created a Fair Product Design and Trade Promotion Center," Liu said. Other officials, including the Canton Fair's secretary general Wang Zhiping and Chinese Consul General in Milan Liang Hui, also attended the press conference.

Innovation, which is typical of many Italian businesses, can further enhance bilateral relations that "have significantly grown both in cultural and economic terms since 2004," Liang said.

Italy is China's fourth-largest trading partner in Europe as bilateral trade reached $51 billion last year, and its annual investment in China is estimated at 5.5 billion dollars, the consul general said.

Events such as the Canton Fair can help Italy further strengthen its dialogue with China that besides promoting exports also has the goal of balancing international trade by promoting imports as well, Liang said.

In 2007, the Canton Fair opened its exhibition space to foreign enterprises for the first time, and since then, 520 enterprises from 44 countries and regions have booked a booth there.

One of the foreign exhibitors at the 111th Canton Fair this spring was the 80-year-old Italian design family company Bimar.

"Building a stand 14,000 km away from our headquarters in northern Italy appeared not to be an easy job at all, but then we decided and it was not as difficult as expected," Bimar's CEO Edoardo Brianzi said.

Brianzi enthusiastically described the first experience with his own stand at the Canton Fair that put him and his company in a huge international market "rich of innovation, new ideas and dynamism."

Not only was the Canton Fair a "precious opportunity to meet new potential partners and clients from all over the world" in the long term, it also yielded immediate results, Brianzi said.

"The number of our visitors tripled compared to other European fairs we had participated in," Brianzi said.
His strategy, he said, was introducing the typical Italian style of his traditional business to China.

In fact, "design was not only in the objects shown at our stand, but also in the Italian lifestyle which we offered to our visitors in an espresso accompanied by traditional biscuits in the morning, or in a glass of genuine wine with some good Parmesan cheese later in the afternoon," he said.

Conveniently located in Guangzhou with all necessary facilities from hotels to transportation nearby, the Canton Fair was an "extremely positive experience" that Brianzi will repeat at the 112th edition of the fair in October.
"It is important to be there," he said.