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Indian businesses hail Canton Fair

By APARAJIT CHAKRABORTY in New Delhi | | Updated:2023-11-01


An increased number of overseas buyers are seen during the second phase of the ongoing 134th China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province. [By Qiu Quanlin/China Daily]

The China Import and Export Fair, popularly known as Canton Fair, is like a global liaison center for business and also serves as a trade bridge between China and India, according to Indian businessmen and traders.

Offering an excellent opportunity to connect with global traders and suppliers, secure new clients and contacts, and explore business opportunities, Indian participants and trade representatives believe the Canton Fair is both a major platform to showcase their products and a major avenue to get better market access to global platforms.

By showcasing Indian products and luring buyers from across the world, the fair can help to bring down India's trade deficit with China and other countries, they said.

Every year hundreds of Indian business people, companies, traders and entrepreneurs have participated in the trade show, which is taking place in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. This year, around 50 Indian businessmen and companies are taking part in the first full-fledged Canton fair following the pandemic disruption.

"Canton Fair is the best platform to showcase India's diverse range of products among the global buyers", and this is the only place where buyers from about 200 countries and regions are participating, said Shranik Chopra, a businessman from Jaipur, Rajasthan, who has participated in the trade show for the last 20 years.

Chopra exhibited building materials and home decoration products at the fair, and this year his firm also got the honor of becoming the first sole agent of the Indian Pavilion.

Although Chopra has an office in China, he still comes to the fair every time.

There is a lot to learn from the experience of China and secure strategic tie-ups like technology transfers, investments and to map out next-level coordination between the business communities of two countries, Chopra said.

All countries want to buy from China, and the Canton Fair provides a platform to showcase foreign companies and products to global buyers, said Rajdeep Jain, who has participated in the fair from India's Punjab state for the past 15 years.

China makes great contributions by sharing this important market opportunity with the world, said Jain, adding that he believes the Canton Fair is the most well-organized trade show in the world.

"The Canton Fair is a platform with global buyers. From here, we can not only sell our products to the Chinese market, but also get into contact with buyers from all across the world," Jain said.

"This is my 15th visit to the Canton Fair. It is a great opportunity to meet with buyers from across the world in person and discuss new plans and programs. It is the largest trade fair in the world, and we are exposed to the demands of global buyers," said Rajat Bose from New Delhi who exhibited hand tools at the fair.

The response from Chinese businesses has been very encouraging and the mutual engagement among traders helps in improving bilateral ties as well. People-to-people contacts result in a better appreciation of each other's perspectives, said Ajai Sahai, director general and CEO of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations.

Sahai believes that showcasing of Indian products and their appreciation by Chinese importers will not only help secure better market access for Indian traders, but will also boost exports and contribute to reduction in India's trade deficit with China and other countries.

The Canton Fair offers an excellent opportunity to connect with global suppliers and clients, establish global contacts and explore new business opportunities, and is an ideal place to learn about the latest market trends, marketing strategies and latest product designs, said Zha Liyou, China's consul-general in India's eastern city of Kolkata.

Congratulating Indian businessmen and trade representatives who have taken part in the fair, a group where Zha counts many friends, the consul-general said the trade show is a wonderful platform for Indian companies to facilitate trade cooperation between the two countries.

Despite some current issues such as those related to visas and lack of direct flight services between the countries, the big Indian presence at the Canton fair demonstrates the impetus for strong India-China friendship, the Chinese diplomat noted.

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