India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) is the government?s nodal agency for promoting external trade. The agency holds trade fairs and exhibitions in India and abroad, thus, offering a platform for traders, investors and technology providers in India and abroad to interact and explore business opportunities. ITPO?s chairman and managing director Rajeev Kher discusses the organisation?s initiatives with FE?s Timsy Jaipuria. Excerpts:
Which has been the most effective way of promoting trade for ITPO?
There are many methods of trade promotion, such as, trade fairs, focussed buyer seller meets, sending trade delegations abroad, inviting importers? delegations to India, seminars, workshop etc. Of all these, trade fair is the most effective medium and the least expensive i.e. return per rupee spent is the highest. Therefore, trade fairs constitute most of our activities while other activities, such as, organising visits of delegations, buyer seller meets, seminars and workshops only supplement our main function.
We organise India Pavilions in about 30 overseas trade fairs and also organise two or three exclusive Indian exhibitions abroad per year. These exhibitions are in different parts of the world.
In India, ITPO organises several fairs. Some of these are fairs exclusively for B2B segments. These include the India International Leather Fair at Chennai and Delhi, AAHAR (international exhibition of food, processed foods, restaurants & hotel equipment) at Chennai & Delhi, International Security Expo, Energytech & Envirotech etc. India International Trade Fair is the best known among all ITPO events. The fair contains both B2B and B2C segments. ITPO also organises the Delhi Book Fair, every year, which mainly caters for the consumer segment as also to the business segment, including publishers and writers.
What are the steps the government is
taking to expand the role of ITPO in trade promotion?
ITPO?s main role in promoting India?s trade is in creating appropriate fora/events where buyers and sellers can meet. This role has two parts, one to identify products for promotion and create suitable events at appropriate trade fairs abroad to organise India pavilion and to design trade fairs in India to project these products. ITPO has been a pioneer in this role and has substantially contributed in the development of India?s exports sectors. As an example our leather fair at Chennai for the last 25 years has contributed substantially to the modernisation of India?s leather industry. The fair brought knowledge and technology to the doorstep of industry, helping it to find technological solutions to various challenges like the environmental issues (AZO Dyes etc.). Similarly, the technology upgradation in our food processing sector was extensively helped by the presentation of technologies at AAHAR. So is the case with packaging technologies that Printpack presented to the Indian market.
The second part in ITPO?s role in trade promotion is to create appropriate infrastructure to organise such events. With this objective, we have been upgrading our facilities at Pragati Maidan from time to time. We have recently taken up, on government?s direction, a plan for the redevelopment of Pragati Maidan Complex and the initial work for appointing Adviser & Project Consultant is underway.
In addition to Pragati Maidan, ITPO has also assisted several state governments in setting up and in certain cases managing their trade exhibition centres. Chennai and Bangalore are two trade exhibition centres set up by ITPO where we are also participating in the operation of these as a joint venture partner. We have also assisted in setting up a trade centre in Guwahati and Kolkata and another such project at Srinagar is under consideration.
How was the company?s financial performance in recent years and how is the outlook for the current fiscal?
I must make it clear to you that ITPO is a company registered under section 25 of Indian Companies Act, which prohibits it from distributing any dividend, bonus share etc. By our very nature of providing service for export promotion, we are not required, by the mandate given to us, to operate for maximum profit. However, having said that I must tell you that ITPO has been consistently making a surplus and our surplus during the financial year 2009-10 was R77.57 crore and during 2010-11 was R70.88 crore.
What sort of investments does ITPO make?
In addition to regular maintenance of ITPO?s infrastructure at Pragati Maidan, we invest in upgrading facilities such as, exhibition halls and other services for exhibitors and visitors. Among the recent infrastructure development/upgradation project are upgradation of air-conditioning of five sections of Hall No.7, air conditioning of Hall Nos.14, 15, & 18, development of two business lounges for conventions, two food courts to accommodate 36 F&B outlets, upgradation of parking facilities at Gate No.1, 4 & on Bhairon Road.
Have you taken new business initiatives
in recent years to promote India?s external trade?
In recent years, ITPO has focussed on the promotion of Indian products in more and more product-specialised trade fairs abroad and have also taken up steps to make our own fairs more and more business-oriented. For example, even in IITF, which is predominantly a consumer fair, we have added business orientation with several measures such as reserving the first five days exclusively for business visitors, organising more and more business related seminars, setting up business facilitation centres to help business visitors etc.
Is ITPO planning to spread its wings in terms of physical presence across India?
As already stated ITPO has assisted several state governments in setting up and in certain cases managing their trade exhibition centres. Chennai and Bangalore are two trade exhibition centres set up by ITPO and where we are also participating in the operation of these as a joint venture partner. ITPO has also assisted in setting up a trade centre in Guwahati and Kolkata and another such project in Srinagar is under consideration. ITPO will welcome suggestions from interested state governments for developing exhibition-cum-convention centres. We would, however, like to see equal participation from the interested states in financing and developments of such centres.
What is the relevance of IITF in
The relevance of India International Trade Fair should be understood in the context of the overall objective of trade promotion. India being a large country, internal trade promotion is as important as external promotion. IITF, as such, meets the need of both external and internal trade promotion.
Therefore, despite the current preference of businesses to exhibit their products in product-specialised trade fairs, IITF continues to remain relevant as one of the most popular events in the country to promote consumer products, and every year, we have several consumer goods companies which launch their new products at IITF.
IITF, which started as the first large format trade promotion event covering all states, Union territories as well as business organisations, has been increasingly getting a business reorientation. We are confident that IITF as one of the few events in the world provide a attractive platform not only for factory manufactured products but also for products of rural artisans, small units and cottage industries.