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Cablegate: 104th Canton Trade Fair: Attendance and Business Down, But

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DE RUEHGZ #0655 3170313
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120313Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS GUANGZHOU 000655

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EINV ECON PGOV CH HK TW
SUBJECT: 104TH CANTON TRADE FAIR: ATTENDANCE AND BUSINESS DOWN, BUT
OFFICIALLY "BETTER THAN EXPECTED"

1. Summary: The 104th Canton Trade Fair could not escape the effects
of the global financial crisis, with almost 15,000 fewer visitors
and a transaction volume down nearly seven billion U.S. dollars from
the 103rd Fair held six months ago. Fair officials claimed that the
event had nonetheless gone "better than expected," considering the
circumstances. Intellectual property rights (IPR) violations
remained an issue, with complaints filed against 911 companies. End
summary.

2. Even before the October opening of the 104th China Import Export
Commodities Fair (Canton Fair), exhibitors had expected a drop in
attendees and transactions, but the results had been "better than
expected," according to a Fair spokesperson. Some exhibitors
planned to strengthen their innovation and research and development
efforts in an effort to stave off the slowing global economy. The
spokesperson cited an increase in the number of high-tech and
high-value-added products on exhibit as evidence of this and said
that environmental protection and energy-saving products had been
"well received" by the market.

3. Total orders at the fair reached USD 31.55 billion, down nearly
USD 7 billion or 17 percent from last spring's 103rd Fair and 16
percent from the 102nd Fair in fall 2007. (Note: With appreciation
of the renminbi against the U.S. dollar, the drop in renminbi terms
was even sharper.) Private companies -- mostly SMEs -- accounted
for USD 18.56 billion in transactions, or 58.8 percent of the total
trading volume, according to the fair's official website. This year
there was no official breakdown of orders by country of buyers.

4. Most of the Fair's 174,562 attendees came from Asia, with Fair
officials ranking traders from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan as most
numerous. U.S.-based visitors numbered 9,626, which was even lower
than the 10,985 U.S. attendees who endured strict pre-Olympics visa
policies to attend the 103rd Fair (12,102 attended the 102nd Fair).

IPR Issues
----------

5. According to official statistics, there was a large increase in
the number of companies drawing IPR-infringement complaints -- 911,
versus 534 from the last fair. However, because many cases involved
multiple companies, the number of cases filed fell to 645 from 681.
Preliminary investigation results yielded a small rise in the number
of companies judged to be "infringement suspects" (495 versus 473 in
the last fair).

JACOBSEN

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