Chinese suppliers formed a long line to meet the eight Iraqi firms attending the three-day event.

 

Due to the heavy interest, discussions were limited to just 20 minutes each, state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily reported on Tuesday.

 

China opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq, but has moved quickly since then to capitalise on business opportunities offered by the country's slow rebuilding effort.

 

Chinese companies hope to grab orders financed by a $1 billion Iraqi government budget for reconstruction goods ranging from home appliances to construction tools, electronics, generators, turbines and other power sector equipment. 

 

It was not clear how much of that money the Iraqis plan to spend in China.

 

"Doing business with Iraq now is less risky and with a higher return than before the war"

Wu Wenzhong,
Huayi Electric Apparatus Group

"Doing business with Iraq now is less risky and with a higher return than before the war," Wu Wenzhong, general manager of Huayi Electric Apparatus Group, was quoted as saying by the paper.  

 

"Although most of the goods wanted will be low-end or mid-level products with thin margins, the capital flow in those markets is much faster than if we sell the products domestically," he added.

 

Inexpensive

 

With an ever-increasing share of the world's manufacturing capacity, China is a key source of inexpensive goods from toys to telecommunications equipment.

 

The Iraqi delegates were quoted as saying they wanted to establish direct relationships with Chinese suppliers to avoid paying fees to middlemen in Gulf trading hubs such as Dubai.

 

"The fair offers big business cooperation opportunities for Iraqi firms with China," delegation member Abdulhafid Atiy was quoted as saying.

 

Shanghai's sourcing fair attracted scores of buyers, including Wal-Mart Stores, General Electric, General Motors of the United States and French retailer Carrefour.