Total purchase orders for Asia's auto parts placed from overseas have eased in the second quarter of this year due to the outbreak of a war in Iraq and the SARS in Asia, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Pramotte Pongthong, honorary advisor of the Thai Auto Parts Manufacturers' Association, was quoted Wednesday by the Thai News Agency as saying that the outbreak of the war and SARS had forced some manufacturers to halt shipment of the products temporarily.

At the same time, most potential buyers, who preferred traveling to survey products in Asia, had suspended their trips for fear of the SARS epidemic in the region.

Thailand had been also affected by the suspension although there was no epidemic of the deadly flu in the country.

The association remained confident that parts exports would increase by 30% from that of the previous year as earlier projected. "The outbreak of SARS might discourage some buyers to avoid traveling to Chinese mainland and Taiwan. They might shift their orders to Thailand in the third and fourth quarters," Pramotte reportedly said.

Pramotte said the association planned to hold the biggest auto parts and maintenance exhibition event in Asia during September 4-7. More than 300 auto-parts makers from 20 countries around the world would participate in the fair.
It is expected that the event would draw at least 200-300 million baht ($US4.76-7.14 million) in purchase orders, the Xinhua report added.