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Online Export Fair Encouraged Considering SARS
The Ministry of Commerce is encouraging an Internet-based version of the Chinese Export Commodities Fair being held in South China's Guangdong Province in order to counter concern over severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The website at www.chinamet.com, sponsored by the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, has been designated by the ministry as a major electronic trading platform for the fair.

The chamber represents the largest number of exhibitors at the fair. The fair has had an Internet platform for the past six sesions, held over the last three years.

In the Guangdong capital Guangzhou, the 93rd Chinese Export Commodities Fair thronged with Chinese and foreign business people after it opened yesterday.

Laurie Andriske, chief executive officer of Australia's Andys Engineers Mildura Pty Ltd told China Daily: "I feel safe from the epidemic as the Chinese authorities have taken precautionary measures and I have been carefully protecting myself." He said he hopes to clinch deals with six of his Chinese business partners and also expects new business opportunities and new products.

Eric Larrivee, a supply-chain coordinator with the Canadian firm Canimex, said he is looking for hardware and related components at the fair.

Xu Bing, deputy secretary-general of the fair's organizing committee, said some foreign business people had cancelled or postponed plans to visit the fair in fear of SARS or due to the Iraq War.

However, Xu said the number of Chinese exhibitors has not suffered from either SARS or the war.

A record high of 48 Chinese trade delegations and 9,128 enterprises are attending the fair. Several exhibitors said that, despite the decline in international buyers, they were still optimistic about the potential for clinching deals.

(China Daily April 16, 2003)

93rd China Export Commodities Fair to Open Despite SARS
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