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Import orders from US at Canton Fair fall by one third

The 124th China Import and Export Fair in the southern city of Guangzhou. Photo: VCG 

The trade fight between Beijing and Washington has witnessed orders from US importers plummet at China's largest trade fair in the southern city of Guangzhou.

"Orders for exports to the US dropped 30.3 percent from a year earlier by value," Canton Fair's organizer China Foreign Trade Center (CFTC) said at a news conference on Sunday, adding that "The number of US attendees dropped 4.07 percent to 10,730."

It also pointed out that export orders to Australia and Canada fell by 8.9 percent and by 7.3 percent respectively.

"However, outbound orders to Japan, ASEAN countries, BRICS and South Korea showed a year-on-year rise, and Japan led the increase with a 74.4 percent jump," the CFTC said.

"Overall export deals at the fair fell by 1 percent to 206.5 billion yuan (US$29.86 billion)," it added.

Held in the spring and autumn each year since the spring of 1957 in Guangzhou, the Canton Fair is the oldest, largest, and the most representative trade fair in China.

Its full name since 2007 has been China Import and Export Fair, renamed from Chinese Export Commodities Fair.

The fair is co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of China and the government of Guangdong Province, and organized by the CFTC.

Decades ago, the fair played a significant role in China's export trade — the value of export orders at the fair contributed 44.5 percent of the annual value of the country's exports in 1978. But its importance has declined, with the value of orders at the fair making up only 2.7 percent of the annual total last year.

The US has slapped tariffs of 10 percent on $250 billion of Chinese goods this year, as punishment for what it calls the country's unfair trade practices, with the 10 percent tariffs set to rise to 25 percent at year end.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump had a phone conversation ahead of an expected meeting later this month at the G20 summit in Argentina.

Trump described the conversation as "long and very good", and said in a tweet that their discussions on trade were "moving along nicely."

He has reportedly asked key cabinet secretaries to have their staff draw up a potential deal to signal a ceasefire in the trade war.

In an official response, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on Tuesday said at the opening ceremony of Bloomberg's New Economy Forum in Singapore that China is open to a trade dialogue with the US.

"The world today faces many major problems that require close cooperation between China and the US … China and the US will both gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Our relationship will have a direct impact on global stability and development," Wang said.


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