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First Trade Fair attracts thousands of visitors

First Trade Fair attracts thousands of visitors

C AMBODIA'S first Trade Fair held at Takhmau for two weeks from April 9 attracted

20,000 visitors for each day of the three-day Khmer New Year

celebrations.

Kao Sok Nay, deputy chairman of the Trade Fair 95

committee, said that on a daily average during other non-holiday occasions,

10,000 people visited the 216 exhibitions and booths.

During the opening

ceremony, Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said the purpose of the Trade Fair

was to encourage and show the economic recovery and rehabilitation of local

businesses.

The minister said $ 60,000 had been given in sponsorship by

companies and the co-Prime Ministers had allocated 100 million riel from the

national budget's "unforeseen expenditures" to organize the

fair.

Preparations of the exhibition site, which had included building

the main stage and gate, booths, lavatories, car and bike parks, ticket booths

and the water supply, had cost more than 130 million riel.

Each

booth-holder, exhibiting and selling local handicrafts, food and other products

was charged $300.

"The aim of the Trade Fair is to show foreign investors

the range of marketing and goods already available here... and to sell local

products and import products owned by local companies to people at a cheap

price," said Commerce Ministry Information Officer Poun Mareth.

And as

the Post visited the fair, only five of 216 booths sold local products: kramas,

sarongs, Angkor Beer and medicinal wine. The fifth - though locally produced in

Phnom Penh but definitely an international conglomerate - was Coca

Cola.

A 42 year-old woman, Sao Vanny who sold kramas at a booth, said she

had sold only two scarves since the fair started on April 9.

"Today is

the last day of Khmer new year and I have sold only two kramas to a couple of

foreigners for $4," she said.

She said since the start of the fair show,

no Khmer national had come to her booth to ask for anything.

"They just

passed my shop and looked at it and then went to other shops which sell import

products like beer, perfume, cigarettes and soap or powdered soap," Vanny

said.

She said "I can't compete with other companies which sell imported

products... they have prizes in their goods and people preferred to buy import

products because they hoped they will get a prize if they win," she

said.

Vanny said the Ministry of Commerce had asked her to join the fair

as a booth holder but she had no ability to draw people to buy her products

"unless the ministry helps me create prizes to go with my products."

"If

I have enough money, I will make prizes to go with my goods... and that I hope

my products will become popular and I will get more customers," she

said.

"I don't think every person who bought many boxes of cigarettes,

beer, powder soap used them or wanted them, but they wanted prizes," she

said.

Mang Bunheng, of the Chheng Khieng Company, selling soaps, powder

soaps and mixed make-up imported from overseas, said he sold a lot of goods,

making up to 10 million riel a day.

"We sold out a lot of things and many

people crowded into my booth because we have prizes in our goods."

He

said since the trade fair opened, 43 customers won prizes such as electric fans,

TVs, MiKi bikes, motors, electric irons and dollars.

The Trade Fair also

served as an amusement park with comedy shows, movie stars, folk dances, live

music and gambling.

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