Big participation, plans and hopes
In its nineteenth year, the Chittagong International Trade Fair has pulled in a growing number of visitors. More and more local and international participants are signing up, bringing in better products and services for customers.
Morshed Murad Ibrahim, president of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), speaks to The Daily Star on the sidelines of the Chittagong International Trade Fair (CITF) in a interview to share his take on the success.
What does this fair target to achieve?
Our ultimate target is to promote local products to international markets. At the same time, we are trying to build a business friendly atmosphere here. This is the era of open markets. The market is open for all. In a competitive market, one does not get much time for preparation. I believe a fair like CITF has been giving the opportunity to every one to evaluate their products against others. It is true for local as well as the foreign traders. They can use it as a way to build their business.
What benefit will local traders get from CITF?
With the CITF, local traders get a chance to interact with the foreign entrepreneurs to widen trade connectivity. They would also get an opportunity to showcase their products to the local and foreign consumers.
How do you define the success of CITF?
It is the success of CITF that it is being held every year since inception. Only in the first year, due to some official problems, we had to arrange 1992's fair in 1993. In the same year, we also maintained the schedule and arranged the fair from 23 to 28 November.
Who bears the fair's establishment costs?
From the beginning, the chamber is bearing the cost of the fair. And, we are investing the total money that comes from the fair in the World Trade Centre.
How many foreign countries have participated in the CITF?
From the first fair to this one, 30 foreign countries have been participating here. Every year, we also select one country as a partner . We have selected Thailand as the partner country this year.
From when have the foreign countries been participating?
Traders from foreign countries have been participating here since the year 1997. Participation of foreign traders in the fair has increased year-on-year.
How are the foreign traders responding to CITF?
I think the CITF has already marked a good position for itself in the minds of the foreigners. Participating in the fair, they got an idea of local businesses here, which will inspire them to invest here. We also opened a website about the fair, where anyone can get necessary information. All of these are making a good impression about us among the business community of the world. This is very important to attract foreign investment in the country.
Do you have any plans of a fixed place for the fair?
We already sought to the government a permanent place for the fair. The government also assured that we would be given a land to make a permanent structure for the fair. I hope, if we get the land, we will bring about radical changes to the fair. Not having a particular place, we cannot take it to big dome. We want to add here all kinds of international facilities that are available at trade fairs in developed countries.
What is the specialty of this year's fair?
At this year's fair, we are giving foreigners the privilege to come here and watch the ICC World Cup Cricket matches. To grad their attention, we decorated the fair with different World Cup items. Not only these, we also invited foreign delegates from different countries here to give a message of the fair as well as our country.
Do you have any plans to arrange an indoor fair here?
To arrange an indoor fair, we have already earmarked the space at the World Trade Centre, which is now under construction. This will make a year-long connection between the consumers and traders.