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South Asian traders eye Chinese market


10:01, June 08, 2013

Buyers view Afghan carpets at the first China-South Asia Expo in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, June 6, 2013. The five-day China-South Asia Expo opened here on Thursday, attracting over 1,400 exhibitors from Asian countries and regions. (Xinhua/Qin Qing)

KUNMING, June 7 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing China-South Asia Expo and 21st Kunming Import and Export Fair, which both opened in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Thursday, have attracted multiple traders from South Asian countries who wish to make money in China's vast market.

Greesh Kumar, a carpet merchant from Pakistan, said he is attending the Kunming fair for the fourth time, as his products have been consistently popular with Chinese buyers.

"Compared with fairs in previous years, more exhibitors have registered booths, so we have more competitors," he said.

Over 170 Pakistani companies are attending the fair, said Nasir Hamid, director-general of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

Pakistan has maintained good economic and trade cooperation with China for years, with partners in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Hamid said, adding that he was pleased to see a larger fair launched in Kunming.

China is an important trade partner and foreign investment source for South Asian countries.

Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that trade volume between China and South Asian countries rose from 5.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 93 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, with an average annual increase of over 26 percent. China's imports from South Asian countries increased from 1.9 billion U.S. dollars to 22.6 billion U.S. dollars during the period.

India has 160 booths at the expo, said Debdatta Nandwani, deputy director-general of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations.

"India has conducted frequent trade exchanges with China, as we have found great potential in the Chinese market. Chinese products with lower prices are more competitive, so we hope to have more opportunity to strengthen cooperation and exchanges with China," she said.

Du Jianguang, vice general-manager of the Chinese branch of Indian industrial giant Tata Group, said Tata has 4,000 employees in China and is planning to expand its business there.

Indian businessman Rajat Kharkia said he used to export most of his products to Europe, but has since found three partners in China, adding that he believes his sales in China will increase in the future.

Haji Omer Rahimt, a jeweler from Afghanistan, said increasingly convenient transportation has made it easier for him to bring his wares to China.

The China-South Asia Expo is an upgraded version of the South Asian Countries Commodities Fair, which was first held in Kunming in 2010.

Xiong Qinghua, director of Yunnan's department of commerce, said the expo will help Yunnan open up to South Asian countries and provide foreign traders with a new way to explore the Chinese market.

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