The China Import and Export Fair, commonly known as the Canton Fair, officially kicked off with an opening ceremony in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong, and is expected to be the largest ever after fully resuming its offline exhibitions for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canton Fair, China’s time-honoured biannual trade fair which started in 1957, has become a reliable barometer of China’s foreign trade. With the exhibition scheduled to officially open on Saturday, traders said that they were excited to participate in the event on-site and expressed confidence in China’s foreign trade, given the strong competitive supply chain and products backed by advanced technologies, Global Time reported. The historic scale and excitement among traders highlighted the resilience of China’s foreign trade despite external challenges and suggested stable exports and imports going forward that will greatly contribute to the world economy, which is facing growing downward pressure, participants and traders said. Speaking at the opening ceremony via video link, Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng said that this session of the Canton Fair is of great significance to deepening trade between China and other countries and promoting the recovery and development of the global economy and trade. “We will take the initiative to expand imports, and continue to use China’s new economic development to provide new opportunities for the world economy,” he said. Companies from 226 countries and regions have confirmed their plans to attend the Canton Fair on-site or online, and 47 global business organizations will attend as groups. Fortune 500 and Fortune 250 retailers confirmed that they will send buyers to the trade event. A total of 53 leading multinational companies, including Walmart, Auchan, Carrefour and Metro, will also be taking part, according to the organizer. The scale of exhibitions for imports at the Canton Fair has also expanded this year, covering 30,000 square meters, up 50 per cent from 2019. A large number of participants are from countries such as the US, Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, the UK and India. There will be 508 companies from 40 countries and regions participating in the import exhibition, 73 per cent of which are from countries and regions involved in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).