Published: 15:31, April 19, 2024
Market access expansion to continue
By Cao Desheng, Zhong Nan in Beijing and Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou

Li: China to make more efforts to facilitate global business, spur people-to-people exchanges

Visitors check out a kiosk featuring new energy vehicles on April 16, 2024 at the 135th China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. (PHOTO / CHINA NEWS SERVICE)

China will step up its efforts to align with high-standard international economic and trade rules, continue to expand market access, and implement measures to ensure national treatment for foreign-funded enterprises, Premier Li Qiang said on April 17 in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Li made the pledge when addressing a symposium attended by representatives of overseas buyers on the sidelines of the ongoing 135th China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, in the provincial capital.

As of April 17, a total of 107,722 overseas buyers from 212 countries and regions had attended the fair, marking a 23 percent increase in their numbers compared with the last spring edition of the biannual event.

The premier said that China will continue to enhance services for foreign investors and strengthen intellectual property protection, effectively safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of foreign-funded enterprises in the country.

More efforts will be made to facilitate people-to-people exchanges for the purpose of international business and to provide support for foreigners who live and work in China, he said.

Established in the spring of 1957, the Canton Fair is hailed as China’s No 1 trade fair and the barometer of the country’s foreign trade.

Li said the history of the Canton Fair is a history of enterprises from various countries sharing opportunities in China and achieving mutual benefit as well as win-win outcomes, and it is also a microcosm of China’s continuous expansion of opening-up and active integration with the international market.

Looking to the future, the premier said that China will firmly expand high-level opening-up and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, injecting greater stability into global trade and the world economy with the certainty of its own development and providing broader room for enterprises from various countries to grow further.

Executives from overseas companies such as Inter IKEA, Walmart, Auchan, Kesko and Kawan Lama attended the meeting.

The participants expressed their confidence in the prospects of the Chinese economy, saying they are willing to continue expanding their businesses in China through the Canton Fair platform and make positive contributions to advancing free trade and maintaining stability in the global supply chain.

Steve Neumeyer, president of International Products 90, an importer based in the United States, told China Daily that the Canton Fair provides the products that he needs for his customers, and that he will continue to try to expand his business in China.

“I found that the Canton Fair has facilitated digital payments for foreign visitors this year, adding more payment options for them … This is fairly convenient for us,” Neumeyer said.

Frangelica Liang, a member of BritCham Committee who did not attend several editions of the fair in the past few years, said she was surprised by what she saw at the current exhibition.

“I was amazed … (it was) an amazing range of high-end manufacturing products, from consumer electronics, industrial tools to AI-equipped healthcare facilities, new energy vehicles — all showcasing the new page of China’s high-end manufacturing,” said Liang.

“I believe the fair will embark on a new journey for global trade and the manufacturing industry.”

Zhang Qingfu, vice-president of Haier Overseas Electric Appliances Corp, a subsidiary of Chinese home appliances giant Haier Group, said that at this year’s fair, many Chinese exhibitors have showcased their green and low-carbon products and solutions, actively securing foreign trade orders and expanding into international markets.

Participating in the Canton Fair is not only about securing orders, but also about promoting new products to foreign clients, observing new market trends and broadening connections with overseas merchants, Zhang added.

Contact the writers at