• Short Summary

    Last Sunday East German Trade Minister Heinrich Rau opened the Leipzig Fair.

    Seven thousand exhibitors from?

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Last Sunday East German Trade Minister Heinrich Rau opened the Leipzig Fair.

    Seven thousand exhibitors from thirty three countries display their wares at this Iron Curtain fair. Exhibiting from the west are Great Britain, West Germany, France, Belgium, and Austria.

    For the first time Canada and the Mongolian People's Republic are represented.

    East Germany's increasing economic dependence on Russia was the main theme of Herr Rau in his opening address. He went on to accuse Dr Adenauer of restricting international trade in the interests of the cold war. The Minister said:- "Almost 50 per cent of our foreign trade is with the Soviet Union". 90 per cent of their imports from Russia were materials and foodstuffs.

    Eight British firms are represented.

    Tradition in both products and design, in spite of many years of Soviet influence and domination, remains strong in East German industry. Nearly six floors of the big Petershof building are devoted to toys, and especially Christmas tree decorations.

    Wooden cribs and groups of carol singers set in snow covered scenes are set beside placards demanding "Away with the United States trade embargo". The bulk of the Thuringian toy-producing firms are still privately run or organised into loosely controlled cooperatives. Offered in generous profusion are cowboy and indian figures, with Wild-West forts, soldiers in modern Soviet-style uniforms, artillery, and MIG fighter planes. The finish of the products is generally good, particularly with the miniature railways. One of these, from a nationalised factory, is somewhat incongruously inscribed with Western Pacific signs, Model aircraft generally follow Soviet designs except for a lone French "Corevelle", but model cars seem to derive mostly from western designs.

    Pre-war tradition seems to hold also for pottery designs. Meissen statuettes are shown and also are various examples from the printing trade, for which Leipzig was once noted. Textiles, another leading pre-1945 product of what is now East Germany, are given the lion's share of space - over one tenth of the total of 1,160000 sq feet.

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