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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trade Fair set for 1m visitors

Trade Fair set for 1m visitors

SOME traders who rented $300 booths at the second Cambodia Trade Fair at Takhmao

stadium expect to receive some benefits, either by signing new contracts with investors

from abroad or by simply selling products to visitors coming for a Khmer New Year

promenade.

Most of the booths rented for the two-week private sector showcase were by manufacturers

or exporters to exhibit their products available now for sale locally or abroad.

"I hope some foreigners will come to see that Cambodia is able to produce good

items," said one of the manufacturers who took three booths.

"May be it will be the occasion for my company to create some links and find

some new partners to export my knitting production," he added.

Cambodia's emerging clothing industry seemed to dominate the wares on display.

"Garment industry is the most important, after that there is cosmetics and then

beers and food," said Minister of Commerce, Chham Prasidh.

Only 130 of the 264 booths were effectively occupied. Locally produced goods were

much more present than last year.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, which helped organize the fair, ten garment

factories were represented compared to only two which took part in l995.

Mighti Spectra Knitting, based in Hong Kong, is one of the new companies which began

production last October, although last year they had a booth just to make contact

with customers and generate new business links. This time they're seeking to train

new staff and display new products just off the production line.

"This fair is the occasion to show our products and make a test on the customers.

According to their response we will improve the product," said Mighti Spectra

manager Kheng Lay Chhay.

Young girls gathered around the booth, having a look-see at a line of new T-shirts.

The response was positive but the girls left disappointed as there didn't seem much

room to bargain over price as they could in local markets.

In the stadium, most of the visitors who showed up were families coming to have some

fun for Khmer New Year. Serious shopping was not their main concern.

Singers and a merry-go-round entertained the crowds at night.

"I came to have a look at what was going on here. It is a good place for Khmer

New Year. I do not think I will buy anything because it is too expensive for me,"

said Sophea, from Takhmao.

This year, the Ministry of Commerce expects one million people to visit the fair,

compared to roughly 750,000 who showed up in '95.

The Trade Fair was funded by last year's profits, and from the Chamber of Commerce

and corporate donations.

"The Ministry asked us two weeks ago to cover the financial needs to organise

the fair, " said Kong Triv, president of the Cambodia Tobacco Company and vice-president

of the Chamber of Commerce. "Members of the commmittee gave between $500 and

$10,000. Altogether there were 23 sponsors."

From the fair, the Ministry of Commerce expects a lot.

"This is the second one, much bigger than last year," explained Chham Prasidh.

"Cambodians do not yet understand marketing. This is the best way to let them

see what is it," he said.

"It will help local and foreign traders to find opportunities for signing contracts,"

he added.

At an oil company booth the expectations were quite different.

"Maybe, we will not have any kind of contract signed here," said a company

representative, as he looked at all the children fresh from school who had gathered

around.

"For us it is a good way to let people know that we are here."

Children received key-rings if they correctly answered an executive's questions.

"We hope that those children will stop at our gas station the next time they

need oil," said the company manager.

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