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TDC ADDRESSES EXHBITORS' CONCERNS, NEEDS

Picture shows (from left) Member of Hong Kong Houseware Fair 2003 & Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair 2003 Fair Organising Committee, Mr. Edmund Young, TDC's Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Frederick Lam and Chairman of the Fair Organising Committee Mr. Jeffrey Lam.
The Trade Development Council (TDC) is giving exhibitors at its upcoming trade fairs in Hong Kong the choice to continue, defer, do both or withdraw with a refund.

The Council's Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Frederick Lam, said this was after consulting closely with industry leaders on the fair organising committees and listening empathetically to exhibitors' different views.

He provided details today (Monday) of how TDC is tackling health- and business-related concerns about the possible impact on its upcoming fairs of atypical pneumonia (also known as severe acute respiratory syndrome).

TDC will now consolidate its three fairs for gifts/premiums, housewares and licensing into two sessions: one in April (28-May 1) and another in July (23-26). The fairs will be held concurrently during these periods at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

"Our foremost commitment is to provide a clean, hygienic and healthy environment at all these events," said Mr. Lam

"We also have a duty to answer to the needs of exhibitors, many of whom are small and medium-sized enterprises that depend on these fairs in April to get orders for the rest of the year."

Mr. Lam explained that the fairs were tied to purchasing seasons of major overseas buyers and were dominant Asian events on a global sourcing circuit. Other cities in Asia were proceeding with related fairs this month.

"We are today inviting our 5,000-plus exhibitors to choose whether to continue in April, in line with buying seasons; defer to July, to allow more time for global disease control measures to take effect; participate in both April and July (for an additional fee), or withdraw altogether, for a full refund."

He said that TDC was in close consultation with Government over stringent onsite health protection measures that go beyond World Health Organisation guidelines.

In addition to stepped up venue cleansing, these measures included establishing a health post at the venue, staffed with qualified medical personnel, and making thermometers, masks and gloves available. With its high ceilings, the CEC is spacious and airy. It is also operated to highest international standards.

"Hong Kong's Health Department has affirmed that visiting the April fairs will not pose additional risks, given these measures and if participants take necessary precautionary measure, " said Mr. Lam.

Exhibitors are being asked to notify the Council of their choice before April 10. Those who do reject all options will get a refund.

"Even with a drop in overseas buyers, which we must expect, nearly half of the buyers at our trade fairs are actually from Hong Kong. Many attend as sourcing agents for overseas importers who want Hong Kong suppliers," said Mr. Lam.

"We will also proactively offer TDC's Business Matching service to overseas buyers unable to travel at this time and direct them to Hong Kong agents."

Mr. Lam said the TDC would mobilise its network of more than 40 offices around the world to advise overseas buyers of the health protection measures at its fairs. "We will be upfront in providing facts on which they can decide for themselves whether to come."

TDC will also mobilise its multimedia Internet platform, tdctrade.com, for a virtual exhibition that gives exhibitors additional global online exposure. The TDC Internet portal receives up to five million hits per day. "We will proactively email links to this virtual exhibition to overseas buyers from those industries."

Mr. Lam noted that TDC's primary role is to help Hong Kong SMEs connect with buyers and fill their order books.

"In addition to taking vigorous health protection measures, we have an obligation to do all we can to make it possible for SMEs to continue to do business through this exceptionally difficult time," he said.

Note: TDC's Customer Service Line 1830 668 is for non-media enquiries.

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For media enquiries, please contact TDC's Corporate Communication and Marketing Department at 25844333.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council