Exporters from nine of the world's less-developed countries have joined China's biggest trade fair, known as China Import and Export Fair, being held in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province.
"The fair has provided the nine countries with booth space of about 300 sq.m. free of charge," said Xu Bing, a spokesperson of the fair.
The move aims to help exporters from the impoverished countries find business opportunities in China, according to Xu.
Nineteen companies specializing in materials, agriculture, food and beverages and handicraft from Laos, Sudan, Rwanda, Madagascar, Nepal, Chad, Cambodia, Haiti and Uganda attended the trade fair.
Formerly called China Export Commodities Fair, the fair changed its name to the "China Import and Export Commodities Fair" and set up booths for foreign sellers at its 101st event earlier this year, in an attempt to boost imports.
"It's my first time to China and I will be satisfied even if I find only one customer here," said businesswoman Chantal Karungi from Rwanda.
Chantal sold handcrafts and hand-made blankets and she was optimistic about her products' performance on the Chinese market.
"All my goods are hand-made. Many Chinese customers are interested in our products and we have saved each other's contact information for further negotiation," she said.
In recent years, China's imports from African countries have increased dramatically. In late 2003, it also removed tariffs on 190 commodities imported from 25 least-developed African countries, such as Tanzania, Zambia and Mali.
As of the end of last year, China has imported tariff-free commodities worth about US$350 million from these countries. The goods included sesame, copper products and coffee beans.
China announced that 454 items of commodities from 26 African countries are exempted from tariffs from July 1 this year, covering almost all the exported products to China from these countries.
According to the UN list of least-developed countries, there are 50 countries fall into the category, three quarters of them in Africa.
(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2007)