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Cablegate: Maldives: Us Pavilion at Major Maldives Trade Show A

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DE RUEHLM #1609 2760439
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 030439Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4380
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0007
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 6921

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001609

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/CBA DENNIS WINSTEAD
COMMERCE FOR FCS
CHENNAI FOR FCS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: BEXP BTIO ENIV ABUD MV
SUBJECT: MALDIVES: US PAVILION AT MAJOR MALDIVES TRADE SHOW A
SUCCESS

1. Summary: The US Pavilion at the Maldives Hotel and Trade
Exhibition August 29-31, 2006 produced sales contracts,
identification of local representatives, and increased awareness of
products. Twelve US companies or their accredited partners
exhibited under the US Pavilion at the Maldives' largest trade show.
Exhibitors expressed satisfaction with the show's results, leading
Post to expect even more exhibitors in the US Pavilion in 2007. End
Summary.

Growing Range of U.S. Exports
-----------------------------

2. A US food products exporter that was introduced to the Maldives
market through the US trade fair in 2003, has since sold around $2
million in this market, mainly apples and eggs. The company is now
expanding its portfolio to include US packaged food and beverages
subsequent to the interest expressed in brands it displayed at the
US Pavilion. A $2.5 million pilot wind power project received keen
interest and could result in an $80 million contract with the
Maldives government.

Possible Bell Helicopter Sale
-----------------------------

3. Additionally, the procurement of US-manufactured helicopters
could be in the works. The local agent for Bell Helicopters,
Infotechs Pvt Ltd, has been actively pursuing the sale of
helicopters to the Maldives National Security Service (NSS).
Currently Maldives has no helicopters, but is interested in a
15-passenger chopper and a smaller helicopter for training purposes.
According to Infotechs, the Minister of Defense is convinced that
the Maldives needs a Bell Helicopter for Medical Evacuation, Search
and Rescue, and humanitarian flights in times of natural disasters.
Infotechs believes only the Maldives President remains to be
convinced in order for the USD 15 million sale to happen, and has
requested Embassy advocacy to this end.

4. Beyond these larger leads from the fair, a company involved in
commercial interior materials is on the verge of appointing a
distributor, and the representative for E&J Gallo and Robert Mondavi
(wines and liquors) met with potential buyers and is optimistic
about expanding its market share in the resort islands. An IT
company also received some prospective leads which could generate
software contracts. This IT company is also in negotiations with
the IBM representative in Maldives (another exhibitor in the US
Pavilion) to represent the company in Maldives. Post also received
inquiries and requests for information on a KFC franchise, Snapple,
mineral water packing machinery, and desalinating equipment. The
Regional Director of Cummins was also present at the fair; he made
important contacts and reported considerable progress in his efforts
to appoint a new local distributor.

Comment: BFIF Key to Success
----------------------------

5. Post greatly appreciates the contribution of Business
Facilitation Incentive Funds (BFIF) for the ongoing success of US
trade shows in Maldives, which have helped US companies access this
new market. This was the first year in which the Embassy hosted a US
Pavilion within a larger trade exhibition. The thousands of visitors
to the Maldives Hotel and Tourism Exhibition represented roughly 2
to 3 percent of the capital's population. The block of twelve booths
comprising the US Pavilion reflected the substantial growth of the
Embassy Colombo-backed US trade presence in the Maldives since Post
first started organizing a catalog show in 2000. With participating
companies reporting exports sales, partnerships and serious trade
leads, Post recommends continuation the US Pavilion at Maldives
Hotel and Trade Exhibition in 2007.

BLAKE

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