INT'L TRADE FAIRS: STEPPINGSTONE TO HIGH EXPORTS

EXPORTS DESTINATIONS ARE BEING DIVERSIFIED.

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Aug 29 - Sep 11, 2011

The Expo Pakistan, which is scheduled from October 20-23 this year, is expected to serve as a steppingstone to higher exports as the mega exhibition is becoming a center of attraction to the foreign commercial buyers especially in the regional markets.

Notably, the previous expo had attracted 70 percent orders from within the region-a manifestation of interest of regional buyers in Pakistan.

The war on terror has caused slowdown in trade exhibitions that were otherwise the frequent features in all major cities.

Trade fairs go in vain if they are not well attended by traders and industrialists. Awful security situation in the aftermath of war on terror in Pakistan, unfortunately, intensified the likelihood of low attendance in trade exhibitions as importantly foreign advisories made businesspersons refrain from visiting the country.

The policymakers in the federal ministry of commerce as well as the public sector organizations having a task to promote exports have launched an aggressive marketing campaign to optimize exports of all segments, be it traditional or non-traditional. In addition, a hunt for new export destinations has also been started.

This decision of focusing and finding new export markets seems to be the outcome of the difficult conditions prevailing in the choosy markets of European Union.

According to well-placed sources, the demand outlook for Pakistan's textile products is not optimistic in Europe unless world trade organization (WTO) gives a go ahead to EU trade concession for Pakistan.

Initially, Turkey increased import tariffs on various textile categories to safeguard its local producers. Turkey is the largest exporter of garments in EU-imports fabrics in large quantities from various Asian countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. These countries will face demand compression especially in the current financial year as the increase in duties has become effective.

For the European countries, especially within the European Union, exporting conditions can improve if WTO approves the GSP plus status to Pakistan as approved by EU to support it recover its economy from the devastating impact of floods last year. Pakistan was due to secure concessionary access to EU in January 2011 but this was delayed due to heavy objections raised by regional competitors at WTO.

Under the prevailing situation, the trade development authority of Pakistan (TDAP), being the premier trade promotion organization, under the guidance of the ministry of commerce has launched the marketing campaigns for diversification in export productions and export markets. Of late, TDAP embarked upon a marketing program for development of trade with a specific focus on the regional markets and their demands. As a manifestation of this scheme, focus on China campaign was also designed and implemented for a potential one trillion dollar consumer market which received further impetus after the visit of the head of the state from Pakistan to China early this year.

TDAP in consultation with commercial sections in China chalked out a comprehensive plan for export promotional activities to be undertaken in China and Pakistan, which are under process till June 2012.

The best part of these activities is the full participation of Pakistan's trade and industry in the international trade fairs or exhibitions to be held in China.

China will hold three international exhibitions this September which include CIFIT FAIR, Xiamen that will held from September 8-11 while another trade fair that is CISMEF, Guanghzou scheduled on September 15-18 and another important fair called Urumqi Fair will be an opportunity for Pakistani exports in the month of September.

Actually China which is a huge consumer market worth over one trillion dollar is the center of attraction all over the world but Pakistan having advantage of close relations has not yet strengthened its bilateral trade relation with the Asia's giant.

In October, two mega events, China Import and Export Fair Spring, Guangzhou and 11th Western China International Fair, will be held in China. Pakistan has enormous seafood potential but it was never developed to its capacity potential because Pakistani seafood exporters were always discouraged with fabricated nontariff barriers like quality and standards or hygienic grounds.

It will be a great opportunity for seafood exporters, who deserve facilitation from the government, to participate in Dalian Sea Food Exhibition to be held on November 3-4 in China.

Similarly, Pakistan is a household name in sports goods and cutlery items all over the world yet irony of the fate is that international brands are taking advantage of Pakistan's quality goods by selling them under their own brands. The Hong Kong Toys and Games Fairs is yet another opportunity for sports goods and cutlery producers of Sialkot and Gujranwala. This important exhibition will be held in January 2012.

CHINA EXPORT

TDAP is participating in upcoming 1st China-Eurasia Expo at Urumqi, China (20-23 Oct) and plans to display a wide range of export quality products to highlight the industrial progress achieved by Pakistan from a large pavilion.

This Expo is aimed at to boost the regional economic cooperation among Central, West & South Asian and European countries and to further expand the collaboration in multilateral fields.

TDAP, in collaboration with Pakistan Embassy at Beijing, is also organizing 4th Pak-China Business Forum on 2nd September, 2011 at Urumqi on the sidelines of the event.

B2B meetings of Pakistani businesspersons will be arranged with their Chinese and other European counterparts in this Forum. Thirty high profile businesspersons are participating in the event representing different business sectors of Pakistan.

Commerce Minister Makhdoom M. Amin Fahim, will deliver the keynote speech during the business forum and lead the delegation of Pakistani businesspersons.

Mr. Tariq Iqbal Puri, Chief Executive TDAP will officially represent Pakistan on the forum of ́Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Business Dayî.

DISCRIMINATION WITH PAK PRODUCTS

It is important to mention that Pakistan was struggling for over a decades to get removal of the ban imposed by the United States and Japan on import of mangoes from Pakistan. This is only recently the ban was lifted after a struggle of many years, which is certainly a major break through.

However, the craze to get into the European or traditional markets is chronic and will take time to heal up especially when the trade and industry will scale up exports to the regional markets.

SOME IMPORTANT TRADE EVENTS IN 2012

APPAREL & FABRICS   APRIL 2012 PRODUCTS
Xiamen stone Fair China 6-09th March 2012 Marble and stones
APLF-Fashion Access, Hong Kong Hong Kong 30 Mar-01 Apr 2012 leather & its Product
5th South Asian Countries Commodity Fair, Kunming China 6-10 Jun 2012 General
ACLE All China Leather Fair, Shanghai China Sep 2011 Leather & its product
MMT Section of APLF Hong Kong Mar 2011 Leather & its product
Shoes & Leather, Guangzhou, China Jun 2012 Shoes