World renowned trade fair organizer Messe Duesseldorf who has been represented officially by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka), met with the Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama recently to discuss on how to promote the ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ brand name in the international arena.
“The Sri Lankan government shows full openness in cooperating with Messe Duesseldorf,” said Director, International Business of Messe Duesseldorf, Dr.Clemens Schuette. They had even invited the Minister to visit one of their shows, so as to get a sound idea on what they intent to do and make up his own mind for cooperation.He also said that they are discussing with the Export Development Board (EDB) of Sri Lanka for possible cooperation to promote local export industries among the world. “This is a good opportunity to bring in Sri Lanka as a competitive export nation in the radar, of international buyers,” he said.
Among the various export industries of the country Schuette said that the rubber industry which is very export minded, has a huge potential in attracting the international market specially in the labour safety and medical sector. Also the boat building industry of the country has progressed well enough to promote them internationally and expand their businesses. Furthermore, there is also the exhibitor potential in the packaging industry which has expertise itself in tea and food packaging.
“The country will develop over the next few years and more industries will certainly emerge for exports,” he added. Thus he invites the local community to make use of these trade fairs as a tool to promote the country as these fairs are a good marketing strategy. However, he said that they need to conduct a market research to identify the potential among Sri Lankans to visit shows organized by them and bring international exhibitors to the country. The Chief Delegate of AHK Sri Lanka, Andreas Hergenröther said that ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ does not stand as a quality brand in the world. Thus there is a huge need to change that opinion and trade fairs are a good opportunity for it.
He also stated that the visit of high ranking officials of Messe Duesseldorf during current difficult times clearly showed that German companies stick to their commitment to Sri Lanka. “We see a huge potential to establish a quality branding of ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ on an international level in various areas.
That’s why we plan to organize Sri Lankan business delegations in October and November to two trade fairs organized by the Messe Duesseldorf,” he said. He highlighted the fact that there is no strategic promotion for ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ brand name. A strong communication procedure is required to promote the country. Furthermore, proper awareness needs to be given about these trade fairs so that the number of visits from the country would increase in the future.
In 2018 there were only 187 visits from Sri Lanka which was far more less than the number of visits in 2017 that is 353 to the trade fairs organized by Messe Duesseldorf. Over the years from 2016 to 2018, there had been only three exhibitors for these trade fairs and that was in 2017. “We want all government and non-government institutions to use these opportunities and promote the country,” Hergenröther added. Messe Duessesdorf is one of the five largest trade fair organizers worldwide, over 50 fairs staged at the venue in Germany including 23 world’s leading exhibitions. In addition to this they conduct trade fairs all around the world such as in Singapore, Japan and China.
The leading trade fairs at Messe Duesseldorf with particular relevance to Sri Lanka are k SHOW - world’s leading trade fair for plastic and rubber, A+A - number one trade fair for safety, security and health at work, MEDICA - World forum for medicine, DRUPA - trade fair for printing technologies, INTERPACK - leading fair for processing and packaging, Tube and Wire - trade fair for tubes and wire industries and Boot - the world’s largest water sports and boat show. Messe Duesseldorf venue consists of 19 halls and 305,000 squaremeters in space. Machinery, plant, equipment, retail and trade, skilled trade and services, medicine and health, fashion and lifestyle, leisure are some of the diversified areas of activities.