Cablegate: Canton Fair: Seizing the Opportunity to Promote U.S.

DE RUEHGZ #1183/01 3040553
R 310553Z OCT 07




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Canton Fair: Seizing the Opportunity to Promote U.S.

(U) This document is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly. Not for release outside U.S. government channels. Not
for internet publication.

1. (SBU) Summary: In the first ever U.S. Consulate-hosted forum at
the Canton Trade Fair, U.S. government and business representatives
discussed - with an appreciative Chinese audience - American goods
and services available for import and the impact of export controls
on PRC companies doing business with the United States. The
Consulate intends to take advantage of frequent trade fairs in south
China and work with the U.S. business community to promote U.S.
products in this rapidly growing market. End summary.

Expanding Focus on Imports

2. (U) This year's 102nd China Import Export Commodities Fair
(Canton Fair) continues the tradition of bringing together foreign
buyers with predominantly Chinese producers to negotiate contracts
for a wide variety of retail, wholesale and manufacturing products.
According to news reports, the 102nd session has attracted
participation from over 15,000 enterprises and the first day of the
Fair drew over 40,000 visitors. More than half of the visitors came
from Asia, with almost 9,000 from Europe, over 6,000 from the
Americas and over 3,000 from Africa. According to reports total
attendance was about 180,000 people, less than at the 101st Fair.

3. (U) This Fair, like the 101st, featured an exhibition area for
foreign importers who sought orders from local Chinese firms. Even
though this session's import section at nearly 20,000 square meters
occupied twice as much floor space as the last session's, it still
only accounted for 3 per cent of the 620,000 square meter total
exhibition area. In addition to an expanded import exhibition
section, Canton Fair organizers invited foreign consulates in
Guangzhou to make presentations on importing each nation's products
to China. Presentations were sponsored by a total of five
Consulates General in Guangzhou -- the United States, United
Kingdom, Australia, France and Korea.

Encouraging U.S. Exports to China

4. (U) The U.S. Consulate's presentation was an unprecedented
outreach effort. Over 100 attendees packed the Huacheng Conference
room of the Pazhou Complex. The agenda featured a diverse array of
USG and U.S. business presenters. Conducted in Chinese, the session
was led by the Consul General, with presentations by Congen's
Commercial Officer and a representative of the Canton Fair. The
Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry Security (BIS) Export
Control Attache Jeannette Chu traveled from Embassy Beijing to
present information on the U.S. export control program for importing
sensitive technologies to China. Four U.S. companies also
contributed their experiences on importing U.S. products and
services to China.

5. (SBU) The 90-minute U.S. program closed with a question and
answer session for attendees. In addition to commonly-asked visa
questions, attendees used the opportunity to ask USG representatives
about licensing of sensitive technologies and where to find
additional information. Export Control Attache Chu responded by
further clarifying many details of the export licensing program and
directing participants to the BIS website on importing products such
as U.S.-manufactured chemicals and equipment to China. Although
participants seemed eager for details about importing U.S. products
to China and directly investing in the United States, it was the
general consensus of USG and business participants that more
specific audience recruitment and more targeted presentations would
be useful at future trade fair events. Several attendees personally
expressed their appreciation for the Consulate's outreach efforts
after the program concluded.

The UK Experience

6. (SBU) The 102nd Canton Fair was also the first time the UK
Consulate General participated in the fair. UK organizers described
results very similar to the U.S. experience. They reported robust
turnout, but expressed concerns that the audience could have been
better targeted. They also commented that future presentations
should have a larger venue. Unlike the U.S. event, the UK
presentation was conducted entirely in English with simultaneous
interpretation, but UK officials lamented that no British companies
participated. They were also disappointed - as were we - with
paltry media coverage. Fair organizers invited the UK to organize a
special pavilion in the main exhibition area at the next Canton

GUANGZHOU 00001183 002 OF 002

Fair, but the UK Consulate remained noncommittal.

Take it on the Road

7. (SBU) Comment. Trade fairs focusing on specific industries and
locations occur at least once a week in south China. The success of
Congen Guangzhou's program at the 102nd Canton Fair highlights an
opportunity for USG and the U.S. business community to use these
forums to increase engagement with Chinese companies and industries.
Chinese officials are eager to use trade fairs to help balance
China's trade account; we have been told numerous times in the past
that we should exhibit at local fairs and should organize as a way
of promoting our products. Export control and visa regulations are
locally perceived to be huge obstacles to increased U.S.-China
trade, despite the reality that only an extremely small fraction of
total trade between the countries is negatively affected by these
policies. Increased attention to trade fair public outreach can
help counter lingering Chinese misperceptions and increase demand
for U.S. products in this growing market. End Comment.


© Scoop Media

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