Trade contacts: Expo 2013 draws crowd despite security situation

Susan Slomback, Chief of Party USAID's Entrepreneurs Projects, briefing the US Ambassador Richard Olson about the medicinal and aromatic plants value chain at the 8th Expo Pakistan. PHOTO: ONLINE

Susan Slomback, Chief of Party USAID’s Entrepreneurs Projects, briefing the US Ambassador Richard Olson about the medicinal and aromatic plants value chain at the 8th Expo Pakistan. PHOTO: ONLINE

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, KARACHI, 28th SEPTEMBER 2013: 

Despite fears about security conditions in Karachi, a large number of foreign buyers and local exporters met at the Karachi Expo Centre on the second day of 8th annual Expo Pakistan – the biggest trade fair of the country.

Local businessmen were satisfied with their interaction with the foreign buyers but they say that it is still too early to say whether the exhibition is successful or not.

“We are here just to support this exhibition, otherwise we knew that the exhibition may not be too successful owing to the security challenges in the country,” a leading marble exporter toldThe Express Tribune on Friday. “This is why we do not completely blame the organisers for the average arrangements for the exhibition.”

A leading fruit exporter commented that organising such a big event in these days is a big job because nobody was expecting the event to be organised this year amid security issues in the country.

Local exporters from the food industry were satisfied with the response they got from the foreign buyers.

“I think we are going to get the largest number of orders this year because we have received inquiries from various new buyers,” Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association Chairman Waheed Ahmed told The Express Tribune.

Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP)’s secretary Rabia Javeri on Friday said that the meetings turned out to be very successful. She said there were total 13 delegations present from across North American and Asian regions.

Meetings were held to discuss various subjects such as strategies for the promotion of local exports, pros and cons of conducting business with Pakistan, trade policy issues and how to improve the competitiveness of Pakistani products for international markets qualification.

“These meetings are essential in creating long-term linkages with these international buyers. Also, these meetings help us understand on how to better position our local products in global markets,” she said, adding that “we are delighted to see the interest shown by the North American and Australian delegations as this opens up greater business opportunities for Pakistan.”

American delegation

US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson led a high-level delegation participating in Expo Pakistan 2013, according to a press release by the Consulate. Ambassador Olson was joined by various other American envoys.

Ambassador Olson praised Expo organisers and spoke about the significant investment that the United States continues to make to help strengthen Pakistan’s economy.

“The United States is doing a tremendous amount of work to build the capacity of Pakistani exporters. Cooperation on this trade show is just one example of our commitment,” said Ambassador Olson. “I encourage all those Pakistani businesses present at Expo Pakistan to continue their efforts to find US buyers and attract US foreign investment that can help unlock Pakistan’s vast economic potential.”

The Expo’s US Pavilion showcases a number of USAID programs that aim to build Pakistan’s export capacity, especially in the areas of small- and medium-sized businesses and agricultural producers. The US Pavilion also represents trade promotion programmes administered by the US Departments of Agriculture and Commerce. In addition, the US Pavilion features American representatives who provide a wealth of information on issues ranging from visas to trade preferences.

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