INTRODUCTION: Businessmen from sixty countries gathered in Leipzig at the weekend for the opening of the traditional Leipzig Spring Fair -- East Germany's showpiece trade exhibition.
INTRODUCTION: Businessmen from sixty countries gathered in Leipzig at the weekend for the opening of the traditional Leipzig Spring Fair -- East Germany's showpiece trade exhibition. The main purpose behind this year's fair is expected to be an export drive to the West to counter East Germany's mounting economic difficulties.
SYNOPSIS: The Fair was officially opened on Sunday, when East Germany's Foreign Trade Minister welcomed Party Chairman Erich Honecker and East German Head of State, Willi Stoph, to the Leipzig exhibition centre.
There followed a tour of the Fair, which, this year, has the theme 'the spirit of Helsinki'. Some nine thousand exhibitors have taken space at the show - nearly half of them from East Germany.
The Palestine Liberation organisation had an information stand at the Fair and no fewer than 23 developing countries were represented.
Despite the wealth and range of foreign exhibits on show, East Germany is expected to cut back severely on imports in the coming year, because of a steep rise in import costs and a severe balance of payments problem with the West European nations.
Nevertheless, Leipzig remains Europe's premier trade fair and a glittering shop window for the world's best manufacturing industries.