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Textile Dealers Watchful as Export Commodities Fair Opens

The 98th Chinese Export Commodities Fair opened Saturday in Guangzhou. Apparently fewer American textile and apparel merchants are coming to the fair due to the pending Sino-US textile trade dispute.


A fair spokesperson predicted on Friday the textile trade disputes may adversely affect business deals at the fair, dubbed China's No. 1 Exhibition.


Altogether 12,655 Chinese businesses are attending the fair, 376 up from the previous one held six months ago, according to Xu Bing, deputy secretary-general of China Export Commodities Fair and spokesperson for the event.


Yet very few American businessmen are seen among the crowds of potential buyers visiting exhibition stands of Chinese textile firms Saturday.


"We sent invitations to all our American clients, but very few responded actively," said Wang Dingying, general manager of Taipingniao Investment Group, a leading textile and garments dealer based in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province. "Most of them want to wait and see."


On Friday, Xu Bing said there would be a drop in textile deals at the fair, given restrictions re-imposed by the European Union on imports of a wide range of textiles from China and the abortive latest round of Sino-US textile trade talks that ended Thursday without reaching any agreement.


In fact, there was already a decline in the number of American textile merchants visiting the 97th fair held in April this year because of the textile trade dispute, according to Xu.


Business deals concerning garments and textiles struck at the 97th fair were valued at US$2.74 billion and US$2.18 billion respectively, down by 4.3 percent and 0.3 percent.


According to Xu, the organizing committee of the fair invited 280,000 overseas purchasers from 210 countries and regions to attend the fall fair, and at least 10 big-name multinationals are ready to place orders at the fair, including Carrefour of France, QVC and HDC of the United States and AIDA of Denmark.


The Chinese Export Commodities Fair, a biannual event launched in 1957, is dubbed the bellwether of the country's foreign trade. Each fair consists of two phases: manufactured goods, textile and garments, foodstuffs and medicine for the first phase, and souvenirs, gifts and commodities for daily use for the second phase.


(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2005)


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