By Victor Asije
Guangzhuo (China), – African exhibitors at this year’s China Canton Fair,on Tuesday urged the Chinese government to reconsider its new policy for exhibitors to pay 5,000 dollars for a booth at the fair.
A cross section of the exbibitors told the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on the sidelines of the last session of the fair in Guangzhuo,that the newly introduced payment was not favourable to them.
They said that some years ago,organisers of the fair gave them the impression that as exhibitors from the Less Developed Countries they would be allowed to use the booths freely.
The exhibitors,however,appealed to the Chinese government and organisers to give discounts to those from African countries in subsequent exhibitions.
Mr Eben Kwame ,Chairman of. China Africa Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who called for an urgent downward review of the payment, said this would enable more exhibitors from Africa to participate in the fair.
Kwame said that it was imperative for the organisers to know that many would be African exhibitors at the fair would be discouraged by the newly introduced payment.
“My organisation has always believed that this fair would afford us the opportunity to introduce our products to the rest of the world.
“But,to be frank many of us would be discouraged by the newly introduced payment of 5,000 dollars per booth,’’ he said.
Mrs Mama Munalula,an arts and craft exhibitor from Zambia, said that being her first time to attend the fair,the payment was too high after her payment for flight tickets and accommodation.
“My coming to this fair was to begin to showcase arts and craft works from Zambia to the rest of the world.
“But,the payment of 5,000 dollars to a fair where I do not even know how much sales I was going to make is really disturbing.
“I like the fair,but the government needs to give big discounts to those of us from Africa,’’ she said.
Another exhibitor, Mrs Detty Chepkorir from Kenya,also said that she brought locally designed art products to the fair,but was shocked by the fixed amount payable for the use a booth for “ just three days”.
“ This is my second ime of attending this fair. Before now, I did not pay anything to use the booth.
“ I really see the charges per booth as being too expensive especially for those of us that should be encouraged by China,’’ she said.
Mr Sonko Wilson, an exhibitor from Uganda also frowned at the high cost of securing a booth for his wood carving,organic products, African drums,cow horn and coral products at the fair.
A chinese government’s official who pleaded anonymity told NAN that the new payment policy was being introduced for the first time.(NAN)