KATHMANDU, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Nepali exhibitors at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) being held in Shanghai, China said there has been "impressive" footfall in the Nepali pavilion and they have established contact with potential buyers.
Around 14 representative organizations of various enterprises from Nepal are participating in the world's first import-themed national-level expo which opened on Monday. A total of 172 countries, regions and international organizations are currently attending the CIIE.
Talking to Xinhua over telephone, Nepali exhibitors said they saw unimaginably high footfall from visitors and have been receiving a lot of inquiries for Nepali products.
Nepal has displayed products including Nepali carpet, garment, handmade papers, metal crafts, local arts, ceramics, silver jewelries, tea and coffee as well as various other products produced by Nepali women entrepreneurs and disabled people in the expo.
Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal (FHAN), a representative organization of handicraft manufacturers in Nepal, has exhibited a number of Nepali handicraft products collected from a number of manufacturers in the expo.
FHAN President Dharma Raj Shakya, who is participating in the expo, told Xinhua on Tuesday evening that he had received a lot of inquiries for stone crafts, metal crafts, wood crafts, silver jewelry, among others in the first two days of expo.
"At least two buyers showed serious interest to buy Nepali products related to stone crafts, metal crafts and wood crafts from Nepal until Tuesday," he said, adding that contacts with several potential buyers could be vital for boosting export of Nepali handicraft products to China in the future.
Nepal exported handicraft products worth 4.6 million U.S. dollars to China in the last fiscal year 2017-18 that concluded in mid-July, representing 22 percent of the country's total export to China, according to Nepal's central bank data.
Another exhibitor, Pancha Ratna Shakya, proprietor of Marketing International, a company involved mainly in exporting silver jewelry and statues, is also equally enthusiastic with the kind of response he received during the initial days of the expo. "I have been exchanging business cards and catalogues with potential buyers and many of them have promised to contact me later," he told Xinhua on Tuesday.
Mahaguthi Craft with Conscience, a Nepali company dealing with silver jewelry, metal craft and handmade paper is another participant in the expo.
Samir Chhetri, sales and marketing head of the company, told Xinhua on Tuesday over telephone that impressive footfall in the Nepali pavilion could translate into increased order for Nepali products in the future.
"Obviously, there are not many buyers who would put an order immediately but exposure of Nepali products in the expo might attract more buyers in the future," he said.
According to Nepali exhibitors, Nepali products have got massive exposure in the expo which they generally don't get when they participate in other smaller expos in China, so this participation could be vital to expand the reach of Nepali products in China.
Trade and Export Promotion (TEPC), a government body under Nepal's Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply, which coordinated the Nepali trade delegation, has also found that Nepali exhibitors have been fully satisfied with the response they got during the ongoing expo.
"Now, Nepali exporters have displayed their products inside Nepali pavilion which was prepared by China free of cost. Due to impressive footfall and inquires, they have been ready to purchase their own single stall when similar expo takes place in the future," said Govinda Acharya, senior official at TEPC, told Xinhua from Shanghai on Tuesday.
According to TEPC, it has got information from Nepali exhibitors that they have got more than half dozen serious inquiries for future business deals so far. "As the expo is undergoing, Nepali exhibitors are expected to find more Chinese importers who may purchase Nepali products in the future," he said.
Nepali exhibitors, mostly the exporters of handicraft products, say that China has emerged as an important destination for Nepali handcrafts in the recent years although western countries are traditionally main destinations.
"Growing government-to-government and people-to-people exchanges between Nepal and China, growing arrivals of Chinese tourists to Nepal and China providing duty free access to over 8,000 Nepali products including handicrafts have contributed to export growth of Nepali handicraft products to China in the recent years," said Shakya of Marketing International.
"Wider visibility of Nepali products during the import expo will help expand market for Nepali handicraft products in the future."