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American Dealers Flock to Guangzhou Fair in Record Number
About 5,090 importers from the United States are in Guangzhou attending the China Export Commodities Fair which opened a week ago, nearly 20 percent more than previous year.

Drizzles and showers in this capital of Guangdong Province in the past week failed to deter the record number of American businessmen from coming to the 12-day trade fair, among 80,000 dealers from other 130 countries.

Harvey Hoffman, a middle-aged American businessman, described the trade fair as nice as there are lots of good quality but cheap products available.

"The people in general are also nice. They are very polite," said Hoffman Sunday at the dining table at the five-star China Hotel, just across the avenue of the trade fair, which started on April 15.

"When I go back to the United States and if people ask me whether they should come to China, I would say everything here is normal, why not", said Hoffman.

Before he came to Guangzhou for the fair, Hoffman and his business partner Tom Freschi visited factories in Chengdu, southwest China, and Xi'an, northwest China, which supply products they import.

"We are going to Shenzhen to visit factories there tonight," said Freschi, who attended the trade fair last fall.

The whole China trip will take about 15 days, they said, and so far everything is OK.

A middle-aged man and two young business partners from Puerto Rico of the United States said they were "very satisfied" with their China trip.

The man who said he had attended the fair for 35 times but preferred to stay anonymous, said he was very happy with the arrangement made here.

"We're happy to be accepted as part of the fair and very glad to say our Chinese business partners honor their words. They are gentleman-like."

"Instead of complaining, we have every reason to come back again," said the man, a shoe dealer.

Many American businessmen attending the fair, together with those from Europe and Canada, said they have experienced no problems in doing business in China.

Harry Washburn, vice-president of the American company Thermacut, said he was hesitated about whether he should come to China on business as scheduled after the April 1 collision in which an American reconnaissance plane rammed and destroyed a Chinese fighter jet.

He said he was not sure whether he should come at the sensitive time, and his Chinese counterpart told him on the phone that there was "no problem at all."

After he obtained a written commitment faxed by his Chinese counterpart to his security, he boarded a plane to China the other day.

"I feel quite safe here, and the friendliness of the Chinese people," he said.

Many American businessmen say Chinese products are getting better and many are popular with American consumers.

Over the past week, US$1.07 billion of export deals have been signed between American importers and Chinese companies, up 27 percent of the last spring trade fair.

The trade fair, held twice a year since 1957, is the largest and the most important of its kind in China.

(Xinhua 04/23/2001)

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