Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Around 135 companies from Thailand, Malaysia, Kenya, China, Vietnam and Singapore, together with some Indian firms, are vying to woo retail consumers at the four-day India Imports Exports and Manufacturers Trade Fair 2008 that began at Chennai Trade Centre on Friday.

The fair was inaugurated by Paisan Maraprygsavan, Deputy Consul-General, Commercial Department of Thai Consulate.

On display is a wide range of products from Thailand, including bags, costume jewellery, artificial flowers, watches and glares, dry flowers, mango wood, vase, palm leaf flowers, decorative items, high-end home theatres, engineering products and crockery items.

Indian firms are mostly selling mosquito repellents, garments, kitchenware items, beanbags, grocery, betel nuts, handicrafts, wooden statues, murals, pottery and home furnishings. Flowers, candles and statutes are priced at Rs. 50 apiece.

Dr. Margaprygsavan told reporters that the trade between India and Thailand was set to increase by 100 per cent soon after the Free Trade Agreement was finalised, as it would bring more than 5,000 items under zero duty and give scope for further increase in the trade. Last year, the bilateral trade stood at $4 billion. India imported $2.7 billion-worth of goods, and the rest was in favour of Thailand.

The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. The entry ticket is priced at Rs. 50.