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Iraq-China flights get traders support
Latest Updated by 2006-04-19 09:57:15

>>>Click into special report: 99th Chinese Export Commodities Fair  

GUANGZHOU: Business people in both Iraq and China would welcome direct flights between Guangzhou and Baghdad, according to visitors at a trade fair.

Direct, weekly flights between the two cities are being discussed at the moment, although there has been no announcement about when they would begin.

Iraqi Abu Salhi, who is attending the ongoing 99th Chinese Export Commodities Fair, said the flights would help trade between the two countries.

The businessman, who runs a wholesale firm for small electrical appliances in Iraq, said Chinese goods were very popular in Iraq.

"If the flights take place, it will help many Iraqi business people save time and money," he said.

Salhi visits the fair's twice-yearly exhibitions seeking durable and affordable China-made products.

Quoting Zaid al-Sarraf, deputy director general of the State-run Iraqi Airways, Xinhua News Agency said recently that Iraq had approved the flights.

The report said the Rafidain Company, a private firm, would operate weekly flights from Baghdad to Guangzhou.

A roundtrip ticket could cost around US$1,300, with a one-way ticket priced at US$700.

Salhi said he currently had to fly to China via a third country, such as Jordan, Turkey or the United Arab Emirates.

There have been no direct flights between Iraq and China since the Gulf War in 1990.

Iraqi Airways used to operate a direct flight between Baghdad and Beijing on a weekly basis before 1990.

Salhi said the flights would be more important for Iraqi business people, as many more travel to China than vice versa.

The Iraqi's opinion was shared by Gong Xiehong, a businessman from South China's Guangdong Province.

Gong runs a firm that manufactures small electrical appliances, including vacuum cleaners, and washing machines and dryers in Foshan's Shunde District.

"My products sell like hot cakes in the Middle East," Gong said. "I think I will be able to sell more in Iraq when the country is more peaceful and direct flights begin."

Qi Yaoming, of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Co Ltd, confirmed that negotiations with the Iraqi airline were taking place, but would not say when the flights would begin.

Editor: Yan

By:Zhan Lisheng Source:China Daily Website
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