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Harbin Fair gateway to northeastern trade
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The 19th China Harbin International Fair for Trade and Economic Cooperation began on Sunday and will last until Thursday in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

The annual event promotes technological and economic cooperation with other countries and helps revitalize China's northeastern industries, organizers said.

Over the past 18 years the Harbin Fair has earned a reputation for worthwhile international business exchanges, especially in trade with Russia, organizers said.

Statistics show more than 1.4 million businesspeople from home and abroad have visited the fair over since it began.

Nearly 12,000 participants from 59 countries and regions are expected at this year's event, including representatives of 85 Fortune 500 companies and 559 multinationals.

Among the heavyweights in attendance are General Electric, Pepsi, Nestle and Posco.

Trade delegations from 16 Chinese provinces and cities have also signed on.

A total of 2,400 booths are open for business, including 1,800 in indoor exhibition halls and 600 outdoor exhibits.

The Russia Hall and the exhibition areas for European nations, United States and Northeast Asian countries have expanded substantially at this year's fair.

As well, South Korea Hall is a new addition to the overseas pavilions.

The Harbin Fair offers huge business opportunities, said Li Zhanshu, governor of the province.

An outgrowth of China's three decades of opening-up and reforms, the fair is expected to have even greater success after reforms deepen, said Yu Guangzhou, vice-minister of commerce.


A new exhibition hall for the finance industry is a highlight of this year's fair.

More than 60 domestic and overseas financial institutions working in banking, securities, insurance, trusts and assets management have their products and services on display in the hall.

Hi-tech products are another highlight of the event. Robots, helicopter models, emergency power generators, power station facilities and computers are all on display during the fair.

About 1,200 technological solutions from abroad are on show, including those for machinery and equipment manufacturing, electronic information, new materials, agriculture, environmental engineering, pharmaceuticals, energy, and aviation and aerospace.

A number of hi-tech deals are expected to be signed during the event.

Trade with Russia has been a central focus since the fair's founding. This year organizers have arranged a much bigger exhibition area for construction materials to meet Russia's growing needs to rapid development in its Far East regions.

Fifty-seven exhibitors in six categories with products designed for the Russian market have attracted keen interest.

The Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong made its debut with its Hong Kong Hall consisting of 36 companies and 50 exhibition booths mainly promoting metals, food packaging, household furnishing and light industry.

Media forum

Another a key part of the event, the Sino-Russian media forum, started on June 14.

Members of heavyweight media groups from both countries, including the People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Daily, Russia Information Agency and the TASS news agency held talks on strengthening Sino-Russian media cooperation and advancing bilateral exchanges in economics, technology and culture.

Russia has long been seen as a crucial trade partner to Heilongjiang province, said Yi Junqing, head of the provincial publicity department.

A wide range of opportunities in business and technology, supported by both Chinese and Russian governments, offers Heilongjiang the chance to broaden its opening-up and accelerate development, Yi said.

"We will grasp the opportunity, upgrading Russian-oriented cooperation on economics and technology," he stressed.

"The news media is an important bridge to enhance communication and understanding between our two peoples and a dynamic force to drive bilateral relations forward," he noted.

Yi cited the role of Chinese and Russian reporters in the Year of Russia in China in 2006 and the Year of China in Russia in 2007.

Taiwan delegations

A weeklong campaign incorporated in the Harbin Fair is promoting cooperation between the business communities of Heilongjiang and Taiwan.

According to fair organizers, representatives from 155 Taiwan companies - reportedly the biggest Taiwan group in the Harbin Fair's history - and nearly 300 Heilongjiang-based companies have signed up for the campaign.

Taiwan businesspeople will tour the province for a better understanding of local investment opportunities, organizers said.

Eleven projects with a total value of 3.35 billion yuan have already been closed. The biggest is a 630,000 sq m commercial complex that will combine wholesale and retail services, warehousing, transportation, dining and hotel facilities. Construction is scheduled in four stages over six years.

(China Daily June 17, 2008)

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