June 16, 2020


This content was produced by the Export Council of Australia on the 16th June 2020. You can read the full article here: Global Trade Updates – Let’s Work Together.


The 127th China Import and Export Fair, popularly known as Canton Fair, kicked off online Monday, a first for the decades-old trade fair, in South China’s Guangdong Province.

This year’s online Fair, which will last for 10 days, has attracted around 25,000 enterprises in 16 categories with 1.8 million products. The Fair is providing round-the-clock services, including online exhibitions, promotion, business docking and negotiations.

Making full use of information technologies including internet, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, this year’s Canton Fair should inspire confidence in every country to find opportunities amid challenges in the global marketplace.

Founded in 1957, the Canton Fair is moving ahead this year because the Chinese Government and private enterprises have worked together to ensure that the Fair can continue. This collaboration ensures that the Fair has continued despite international travel bans, health issues and other concerns associated with an event like this.

Whilst a digital Canton Fair is not the norm, the fact that it is still proceeding is a testament to everyone working together.

How can the Government and Industry work together in Australia to return to a “normal” trade environment as soon as possible?

In Australia, the Government(s) should enhance, recognise, and support more explicitly the role of Industry in exports. The importance of exporting is well documented in job growth and economic security for Australia.

The Federal and State Governments must continue to create a favourable policy environment for exports. Not only in supporting Industry through a series of fiscal policies to cut taxes and fees, but also by taking steps to facilitate border clearance and quarantine arrangements.

The Government needs to continue to introduce more policies to help exporters, such as negotiating new and/or revised Trade Agreements, facilitating and digitalising border formalities, and providing preferential policies for small and micro-sized enterprises, so that their roles in future exports will be further boosted. Also, providing small and micro-enterprises more support in finance and credit and encouraging cross-border e-commerce and services exports to be developed alongside general trade in goods.

For their part, Industry must continue to export. They need to re-model their business strategies and explore diversification in markets. Industry must have risk management plans in place to deal with the still current disruptions around the world and for a possible disruption in the future.

Industry needs to continue to build on our successes and in the new “norm” that means we must all accept and encourage digitalising of our systems/work practices. We are still unable to travel internationally to meet our buyers/agents/overseas teams, so we need to take a lead from the Canton Fair organisers and change the way we do things.

If we all work together as a team, we can continue to build our exports and reward all Australians with jobs and economic security for the future.

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