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Demonetisation hits foreign participants at trade fair

 Foreign participants at the 36th India International Trade Fair (IITF) are facing a severe cash crunch with most complaining of having “zero” or “very limited” Indian money to spend following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

“I have zero Indian money with me. No money to even buy tea. We have come as a part of a trading group, so thankfully our hotel and food is covered,” Grace Wu, a trader in the Chinese pavilion, said.

Another trader, Fengabao Liu, selling hardware at the Chinese pavilion, said: “I have no rupees with me. Could not get it exchanged at the airport because of the crowd.” 

However, as he had come in a large group, so the manager helped him with some cash, Liu said.

IITF is organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and would continue till November 27 at Pragati Maidan. 

“I could exchange only $50 from the airport. Facing a lot of trouble due to this cash crunch. Such long queues everywhere — at airport and ATMs here,” Summer Luo, Sales Manager at a Chinese batteries counter, said. “How do I get money exchanged? Have such less rupees.”

An Afghan woman trader lamented, “We are having so much problems because of no Indian money. No money to spend on ourselves.”

Another Afghan, a dry-fruit trader, smiled and told, “I managed somehow. Borrowed from some friends here. I managed to get just enough cash.”

The cash-strapped traders said they were not expecting good business during the trade fair because of the Indian government’s demonetisation move. 

However, the traders are relying on demand for point of sale (POS) machines and are accepting card payments. 

Shengyuan Yu, trader from Tianjin Qaiek Food Co of China, said his sales will not be affected as the price range of the products that he was offering were only between Rs 200 and Rs 600.

“My products are not that expensive. Rs 200 is not expensive, people can easily manage that much cash. For Indian traders, the payments can be done later online,” Shengyuan said.

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