Biz Memos

All systems go for the 136th Canton Fair

All systems go for the 136th Canton Fair
Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center in southern China’s Guangdong Province.
Wikipedia Commons/Tim Wu

MANILA, Philippines — The 136th Canton Fair is slated for Oct. 15 to Nov. 4, 2024 at the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center in southern China’s Guangdong Province.

The Guangzhou City venue is considered the largest convention center in the world, with 45 exhibition halls within the 1.6 million square meter complex.

Founded in 1957, the Canton Fair is staged twice a year every spring and autumn – even during the pandemic when it went online in 2020 but resumed in-person events starting 2021.

Over the past 67 years, it has become China’s longest-running trade fair for importers and exporters. In its 135th edition from April 15 to May 5 this year, a record number of 246,000 overseas visitors from 215 countries and regions attended the fair.

During a recent roadshow in Taguig City to promote the Canton Fair, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. President Dr. Cecilio Pedro said “the Philippines should continue to pursue stronger trade ties with China despite recent incidents in the West Philippine Sea.”

He appealed to Filipino businessmen not to be deterred by current headlines that may cast shadows of discord in the bilateral relationship.

Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo agreed with Pedro in saying that “politics and economics must be separated amidst geopolitical tensions.”

He also believes that “trade is a potent force for peace” and the participation of Filipino entrepreneurs in the Canton Fair will not only be to tap into sourcing or export opportunities and benchmark global best practices, but would likewise encourage Chinese companies to invest in the Philippines.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the total value of approved foreign investments from China reached $164.6 billion during the previous Duterte administration.

Official development assistance (ODA) from the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) amounted to a total of $2.5 billion.

Among the projects funded by ODA loans from the Chinese government are the Samal Island-Davao City Bridge; Chico River Pump Irrigation Project; and New Centennial Water Source of the Kaliwa Dam Project.

The Metro Manila Flood Management Project was partially funded by the AIIB, while the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge between Makati and Mandaluyong as well as the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge in Manila were gifts from the Chinese government in the form of grants.

Foreign direct nvestments at various stages of development include the framework agreement between the local government of Pampanga and Macrolink Group worth $1.5 billion to construct and develop the Yatai Industrial Park; the $1.5 billion petrochemical refinery processing plant complex of Fengyuan Holdings in Davao Occidental; the $500 million nationwide WiFi infrastructure of the Tranzen Group and CITIC Guoan
Information Technology; the $50 million iron processing plant of Adnama Mining Resource Inc. in Agusan del Norte; the $40 million collaboration of the Department of Energy and Shanghai Electric Group Co. Ltd. to promote indigenous and renewable energy resources; and the 250-megawatt South Pulangi Hydroelectric Power Plant in Bukidnon funded by China Energy Co. Ltd.

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