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government-trade

Asian Leather Fair Canceled, But Fashion Week to Go On

CMP Asia, organizers of the Asia Pacific Leather Fair, has canceled the June edition of that event because of SARS concerns and travel advisories.

HONG KONG — CMP Asia, organizers of the Asia Pacific Leather Fair, announced Tuesday that the June edition of that event has been canceled.

The fair was originally slated for April, but had been postponed to June 26-28 because of SARS concerns and travel advisories.

In a statement, Michael Duck, director of the APLF, said: “Responding to the concerns of exhibitors in regard to the current travel restrictions imposed by the World Health Organization, we have decided not to proceed with the rescheduled APLF in June this year.”

After China, Hong Kong has been hardest hit by SARS, with 1,741 cases and 251 deaths as of Monday. Although the city has seen the number of new cases fall significantly, the WHO has not lifted its travel advisory for Hong Kong, leading foreign buyers to postpone or cancel trips to Hong Kong and China and exhibitors and fair organizers in a lurch.

The APLF spring show drew more than 3,000 exhibitors last April, as well as more than 50,000 buyers. Exhibitors who had planned to show at the rescheduled APLF in June are being given options of refunds for the canceled fair or transferring their payment to the October or 2004 APLF to be held in March. Would-be APLF exhibitors can also get product information and photographs from a new online product directory at aplf.com.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, which organizes Hong Kong Fashion Week, confirmed Tuesday that the July event would go ahead as scheduled. Fashion Week will feature more than 470 exhibitors from 11 countries and regions.

Anne Chick, senior exhibitions manager for the HKTDC, said the organization was taking every health precaution possible to protect exhibitors and buyers from SARS.

“Judging from our experience of a trade fair held from April 28 to May 1, the health measures taken by the HKTDC were proven to be effective,” Chick said.

Measures included infrared body-temperature scanning for all visitors, the availability of face masks and hand wipes, on-site medical staff and the distribution of SARS-information leaflets to all participants.

The HKTDC is also using the Internet to facilitate business between exhibitors and buyers by posting product information and photographs on its Web site, hkfashionweekss.com. It also provides a service whereby overseas buyers can find Hong Kong sourcing agents that can attend shows on their behalf.