KUNMING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- From traditional marionettes and wood carvings to handmade carpets depicting Bagan's renowned pagodas and stupas, Myanmar exhibitor Thet Thet Naing was more than proud to showcase her country's best handicrafts at a border trade fair in the southwestern Chinese city of Ruili.
Thet Thet Naing, a trade promotion officer from the Yadanarbon Trade Center in Mandalay, said she was attending the ongoing 18th China-Myanmar Border Economic and Trade Fair for the second time, and has brought more types of traditional handicrafts to impress Chinese visitors.
"We've received many orders for our customized carpets from Chinese hotels thanks to the fair in Ruili," she said. "I hope this year's fair will let more Chinese visitors and exhibitors know about Myanmar's cultural products."
Thet Thet Naing is among a large number of domestic and overseas exhibitors who have flocked to the fair to display more than 2,000 kinds of items at over 500 booths, representing a record high in the event's history. This year's fair runs from Dec. 10 to 16.
So far, a total of 24 projects with investment totaling nearly 20 billion yuan (2.8 billion U.S. dollars) have been signed at the fair. The projects cover tourism, agriculture, logistics, wood processing and other areas.
"The fair has become a model of bilateral cooperation since it was inaugurated in 2001," said Zhao Gang, Party secretary of Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture, which administers Ruili. He added that the fair has greatly contributed to the development of bilateral trade and benefited the people in the border areas.
Cross-border trade between Dehong and Myanmar has entered the fast lane of development in the past few years, with the trade volume surging over 10 times from 2001 to reach 31.5 billion yuan in 2018, according to official data.
U Aung Htoo, Myanmar's deputy commerce minister, said at the fair's opening ceremony that China is Myanmar's major trade partner and the two sides have been advancing trade cooperation in recent years to boost border trade, improve transport infrastructure and promote the development of the border areas.
According to data from China's Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between the two neighboring countries reached 13.54 billion U.S. dollars in the first nine months of the year, an annual increase of 17.9 percent. Over the period, China's imports from Myanmar jumped 32 percent to reach 4.67 billion dollars.
"I hope the fair will help our company find Chinese buyers and tap into the great potential of the Chinese market," said Kyaw They, a Myanmarese exhibitor who was displaying his company's cosmetic products and pickled tea leaves at the fair.
Yang Zhenwang, a Chinese exhibitor and general manager of a Chinese agricultural machinery company, said his company has seen a 10-fold increase in its sales in Myanmar over the past seven years to exceed 4 million yuan this year.
"We mainly export our agricultural equipment to Myanmar via the land port in Ruili, and I expect the border trade fair in the city will help us get more orders from Myanmar," Yang said.
Thet Thet Naing said bad road conditions still pose challenges to the logistics between the two countries. "I look forward to the completion of the China-Myanmar railway project, which will greatly improve the logistics and further boost the trade cooperation between our two countries," she said.