Brace for trade rush as fair opens to all from today

Foreign pavilions await visitors with handicraft items, dress material, kitchenware, toys, gems and much more

Artisans from 21 countries will showcase products ranging from kitchenware to handicrafts to toys to high-end exquisite items to a flurry of visitors at the 32nd India International Trade Fair 2012 at Pragati Maidan from Monday.

The fair, which opened on November 14, was restricted to business visitors until Sunday.

Craftsmen and traders from Egypt, Belarus, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Thailand, Turkey, the Czech Republic and the fair's focus country South Africa have brought special products to promote business in India.

The South African wire and bead products along with ceramic and pin-thread sculptures have already earned kudos from the business visitors.

"This is my first time at the fair and I have found people have a keen interest on our arts and crafts," Alfred Fana Radeba from South Africa said. Gems and jewellery is another major attraction and overseas dealers believe India "is an easy market".

M L Safideen from Sri Lanka said: "We bring certified gems and jewellery. The advantage of the fair is that we can directly sell gems and stones over-the-counter in India. This is not allowed in other countries." Six companies from Sri Lanka have come to the fair.

The Turkey stall attracted quite an impressive footfall with jewellery and crystal products. Turkish tradeswoman Ayfer Zahur, who has been a regular foreign participant at the fair, hires an Indian assistant to help her.

"Business has not been good this year. I am waiting for the fair to open to all visitors. We did very good business last year," Ayfer said.

Munaf from Karachi said the response was weak this year. "There has been a decline in the number of customers. I hope for a turnaround from Monday," he said.

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