Traders Bank on Quality at Trade Fair


QUALITY is a key word at this year's East China Fair that will open tomorrow at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.

Dubbed as a barometer for China's trade, the fair will run through to Monday. The annual fair is supported by the Ministry of Commerce, and co-sponsored by six provinces including Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi and Shandong provinces, and three cities Shanghai, Nanjing and Ningbo.

Traders with established brands are more likely to be featured at the fair, the country's largest regional fair.

"With demand weak both at home and abroad, we hope that products with good quality can help whet people's consuming appetites," organizers said.

According to them, the fair will exhibit more than 60 brands of products that have won national awards for quality, along with more than 700 brands honored by provincial governments. Over 20,000 products with innovative uses or designs will also be showcased.

About 3,500 domestic export-oriented companies will participate in this year's fair in an exhibition area covering 115,000 square meters, organizers said. It will be larger than last year's 103,500 square meters.

There will be 5,880 standard booths with four major exhibition areas for garments, home textiles, interior design items and consumer goods.

Meanwhile, the fair will continue to set aside a special zone for foreign exhibitors to better boost imports. Nearly 135 overseas companies -- from countries like Japan, South Korea, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia -- have registered to display their products at the fair.

The fair has attracted 4.78 million visitors to its official Website and around 4,000 international professional buyers, mainly from Japan, the United States, Australia and Europe, have registered.

Last year, export orders worth US$2.84 billion were clinched at the fair, which was 3.38 percent higher than a year earlier.

Organizers were not optimistic enough to predict a better result this year as both exports and imports have performed badly in recent months.

In January, China's exports retreated 0.5 percent from a year earlier, the first drop since November of 2009, while imports lost an even bigger share of 15 percent. The strong setback was partly caused by the Spring Festival holiday in January, which distorted the usual working days. But weak demand in and outside China can't be ignored, analysts said.

Commerce Minister Chen Deming warned earlier that China's exports face a grim outlook this year.  

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