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Canton Fair Features Imports for First Time
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The famed Canton Fair - China's largest export expo for five decades - will include an imports section for the first time this year in the latest move to curb the country's rising trade surplus.

The event, which has been renamed the Chinese Import and Export Commodities Fair, will run from April 15 to 30, with the imports section scheduled between April 15 and 20.

"The move reflects the Chinese government's intent to promote imports and achieve a trade balance with other countries," Vice-Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng told a press conference in Beijing yesterday.

China's trade surplus for the first two months of the year more than tripled to $39.64 billion compared to the same period last year.

Exports in February were 51.7 percent higher than exports in January, while imports rose 13.1 percent, less than half the previous month's growth.

The imports section at the Guangdong fair is expected to attract some 300 enterprises from 37 countries and regions. Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and the United States will be the top five sources.

Exhibitors will showcase items ranging from machinery, equipment, household electronic appliances and hardware to gifts, food and farm products.

So far, 6,000 domestic buyers have agreed to attend, according to the organizers.

"The organizing committee will provide international sellers with door-to-door logistics support," said Xu Bing, a spokesperson for the organizing committee.

Besides the import exhibition, the government is also trying to balance trade by reducing export tax rebates on energy-intensive and polluting products.

Gao said: "I think the trade balance will improve in the coming months as measures to encourage imports take effect."

(China Daily March 27, 2007)

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