Local businesses becoming dependent on private agents of int’l trade shows

Local businesses becoming dependent on private agents of int’l trade shows
Published : Tuesday, 03 September 2013

Badrul Ahsan

Local businesses are gradually becoming dependent on private agents of international trade shows for their overseas marketing mainly due to the partiality in selection of venues and participants by the authorities concerned, insiders said.

They alleged that some politically influential people become agents of less important fairs of different countries aiming to earn a big commission and influence the authorities concerned to include those in the yearly fair schedule.

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) under the ministry of commerce (MoC) has been tasked with the responsibility to select venues of such trade exhibitions with a view to helping local businesses flourish in the international arena.

The government bears up to 65 per cent of exhibition costs of the participating companies where mostly politically influential entities get chance to take part forcing many other potential companies to depend on private agents of international trade shows for their overseas marketing, the insiders alleged.

“Private initiators always try to become agents of highly prospective events across the globe which lures the companies to attend such events despite higher costs,” marketing director of Pran RFL Group Kamruzzaman Kamal told the FE.

“In many cases, our achievements from participation in the overseas fairs guided by the private agents were better than that of the government,” he added.

Pran RFL Group has recently confirmed its participation in Jeddah International Trade Fair to be held in December this year guided by their local agent Redolence Corporation BD Ltd.

A high official of Bd Foods Limited said the company mostly tries to take part in international trade fairs through private organisers despite higher costs mainly due to mismanagement of the government officials in selecting events, position of stalls and dillydallying in other business issues during the fairs.

“On many occasions we get our stalls at a remote corner of the exhibitions where buyers rarely visit. Besides, we hardly find the government officials to pursue to arrange meetings between the buyers and sellers during the exhibitions which private organisers always do,” he added.

Managing Director of Redolence Corporation Choudhury Kamrul Hasan said they take different initiatives like exclusive meetings with buyers, selection of stalls in better places and better accommodation for company representatives etc which helped them to convince local companies to take part in those fairs under their guidance.

“We always try our best to ensure the best facilities to the local companies which intend to participate under our guidance,” he added.

Mr Hasan however expressed his dismay saying that despite proven prospects of different trade shows including Jeddah International Trade Fair (JITF) he could not convince the EPB to include any of those to its yearly fair calendar.

“JITF is one of the three biggest fairs of the Gulf region, but we could not convince the EPB to enlist it in their fair list,” Hasan said.

“Many of our local companies would be benefited if it was enlisted by the government.”

However, disagreeing with the allegations of partiality and mismanagement, director (Fairs) of EPB Akter Ali Sarker said they usually select fairs in consultation with the trade bodies and also follow instruction from the MoC.

But another high official of the EPB told the FE that they cannot select trade fairs independently.

“Political influence makes us bound to decide against our choice,” he said.

According to him, there was no justification of selecting five exhibitions of India in a year ignoring potentials of different international trade fairs.

“The authorities enlisted five fairs of India which are less important than that held in our Kalabagan field,” he added.

According to EPB data, six less important fairs of India were enlisted for the current fiscal year (FY 2013-14) out of total 39 despite other fairs across the globe having vast prospects.

The fairs include Kolkata Book Fair, India Int’l Mega Trade Fair in Kolkata, Guwahati International Trade Fair in Assam, India International Mega Trade Fair in Jharkhand, Buildex Science City Fair in Kolkata and India International Mega Trade Fair in Orissa.

However, local agents of different international trade exhibitions urged the government to provide at least 30 per cent of participation cost of local companies under their guidance considering the greater interest of the nation.

“We strongly urge the government to allow at least 30 per cent of participation cost of local companies which would surely boost export of our commodities,” managing partner of Toma International, another local agent of a number of international fairs, Jahirul Alam told the FE.

For more information on International Exporting contact

Kelley Brady (kbrady@reedexpo.com) or
Michelle Bonina (Mbonina@reedexpo.com)

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