In a significant indicator of the growing potential of consumer goods market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on the back of strong regional GDP growth, the 22nd edition of the International Autumn Trade Fair 2006 (IATF06) is all set to open on December 17 2006 with 25 per cent growth in participation.
IATF06, the region’s largest and leading consumer goods trade fair will run at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) for four days till December 20 2006 with 730 companies from 23 countries, up from a participation of 588 exhibitors last year, making use of the expo platform to deepen their engagement with the Middle East’s consumer good’s market.
Addressing a press conference on the eve of IATF06, Mr. Satish Khanna, General Manager, Al Fajer Information and Services, organisers of the show said: “Strong regional liquidity which in turn has generated a wealth effect and has triggered higher spending is one of the prime reasons for the bigger participation at IATF06. In line with the strong growth in regional economies, the spending prowess of the population has significantly enhanced the potential to expand consumer goods trade.”
He said the strong and increasing presence of global consumer goods companies was a reflection of the popularity of the show which is now in its 22nd year.
“IATF has grown with Dubai and the emirate’s unchallenged potential as the trade and business hub of the MENA region. Over the last 22 years, the show has earned a reputation for itself as a critical barometer of consumer goods trade and its continued growth in the region,” Mr. Khanna said.
IATF06 has significant presence from Asian countries, particularly from Hong Kong, China, Singapore, India, Korea, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia. Reflecting the firm trade roots of Asian companies in the region, Hong Kong is hosting its `Style Hong Kong Dubai’ and Indonesia has a solo show, the `Indonesia Solo Exhibition,’ both of which will run concurrently to IATF06. Chinese participation is also up at 150 exhibitors at this year’s show indicating the rapid expansion of the East Asian country in the regional market.
IATF06 will host national pavilions of six countries, occupying 80 per cent of the 18,500 square metre exhibition space. The fair is expected to attract around 22,000 trade buyers this year.
The participation by Hong Kong, featuring 230 exhibitors, is a reflection of the country’s booming trade relations with the Middle East, and the UAE in particular, which is its single largest trade partner. In the first eight months of 2006 from January-August, bilateral trade between the UAE and Hong Kong was to the tune of US$2.26 billion and is set to grow further.
`Style Dubai in Hong Kong’ is being organised under the banner of Hong Kong trade Development Council. Hong Kong is participating at IATF for the third consecutive year and will showcase Hong Kong as a premier supplier of high-quality lifestyle products to trade buyers and visitors from the Middle East.
Similarly, Indonesian goods have a growing presence in the MENA market. Indonesian exports to Middle Eastern countries in 2005 touched US$2.3 billion, up from US$1.8 billion. The UAE is the major market for Indonesian goods and trade with the emirate was to the tune of US$662 million in the first half of 2006 and US$1.2 billion at the close of fiscal 2005. Indonesia will be represented at the show by 173 companies at the show.
The `Indonesian Solo Exhibition’ is being organised by the National Agency for Export Development (NAFED) of the Indonesian Government’s Ministry of Trade in close cooperation with the Indonesian Exhibition in Abu Dhabi and the Indonesian Consul General in Dubai.
Chinese trade with the UAE and the region has also grown tremendously and the country recorded a trade surplus of US$5.5 billion with the UAE during the first nine months of 2006, catalysing its participation at IATF06. The Chinese pavilion is being organised by several official bodies like China Foreign Trade Organisation, China Orient, Sinobal China, CCPIT - Ningbo, Asia Capital and Jiangsu International Consultancy and others.
IATF06 participation will also include 58 companies from Singapore, 52 from Korea, 18 from Bangladesh. Other countries taking part at the show will include India, Poland, Vietnam, Croatia, Italy, Poland etc.
Participation by Bangladesh is organised by the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh and this is the tenth time the country is taking part ay IATF.