Made in China no longer means what it used to, a senior Chinese trade representative has told Gulf News.
Jiang Ming Jiang, deputy director at the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Econ-omic Relations Commission, says that while Chin-ese goods are cheap, their reputation for being low quality is unfair.
"It may have happened before but [now] it is not normal," Jiang told Gulf News through an interpreter.
"It is a prejudice. Chinese quality has greatly changed and improved."
Jiang's comments came on the sidelines of the China Sourcing Fair at Dubai International Conference and Exhibition Centre, which has brought hundreds of Chinese suppliers to the UAE this week.
China's exports to the UAE amount to 15 per cent of the country's imports, and range from metals to adhesives to textiles. According to a survey conducted in 2007, 58 per cent of Chinese exporters currently export to the Middle East, 13 per cent for more than 20 years.
Growing middle class
Bill Janeri, general manager of Global Sources, the company that organised the show, pointed out the importance of China-UAE trade to companies in the region.
"Dubai is the third largest re-export market in the world. When you look at the amount of trade that goes through this market, there is no better location," he said. He added that while trade between China and the UAE was significant, in other regional markets it was just beginning to take off. Demand for consumer products as well as materials ,would increase as countries in the Mena region develop.
"As an economy stabilises and expands, so does its middle class. A growing middle class brings more disposable income and a growing demand for consumer products," he said.
Janeri added that the quality of Chinese goods had improved over the last few years, with many of the country's exporters operating to ISO standards and other international product-safety certifications. It was a point that Jiang was keen to stress. "It [the product] is much cheaper," he said. "But our products enter European markets not just because they are cheap but because they are high quality."