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Cablegate: Maldives: Successful American Pavilion at Major Trade Show

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DE RUEHLM #1403/01 2840318
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 110318Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6961
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1453
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 8045
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001403

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/INS AND EB/CBA D WINSTEAD AND T GILMAN
COMMERCE FOR JONATHAN STONE

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

REF: STATE 192740

1. Summary: Post is pleased to report that the American Pavilion
at an international trade fair in the Maldives produced encouraging
results for participating companies and strengthened U.S. economic
ties with Maldives. Fifteen U.S. companies, or their local
partners, exhibited as part of an American Pavilion at the Maldives
Hotel & Trade Exhibition from August 28-30, 2007. Many companies
reported new contracts or trade leads. Significant results from
this year's show included major sales for a company representing
U.S. specialty-textile producer group Sunbrella, the introduction of
an expanded product range by a U.S. food and beverage exporter, and
the initiation of a pilot wind power project with U.S. technology.
End Summary.

Good Results: Expanding U.S. Exports
-------------------------------------

2. The American Pavilion was once again the most distinctive
feature of Maldives Hotel and Trade Expo, garnering significant
interest from both government and private-sector representatives.
Ambassador's participation helped to focus Maldivian Ministers on
U.S. products. Ambassador personally walked several Ministers
through the Pavilion, introducing them to -- and highlighting the
merits of -- U.S. products. He also hosted a well-attended
networking reception for American Pavilion participants, major
Maldivian businesses and Ministers.

Concrete Results:
-----------------

3. These are a sampling of the positive results to date for
companies that participated in the American Pavilion:

A. A company using U.S. Sunbrella fabric to manufacture canopies
and awnings received orders for more than $36,000 and is confident
it will secure more sales in the next few months.

B. A local representative for a U.S. agricultural exporter, who was
introduced to the Maldives through the American pavilion, plans to
visit the U.S. this fall to expand the food & beverage product range
currently offered.

C. One company received a fresh lead to export U.S. timber to the
Maldives; it is actively pursuing this lead.

D. A pilot wind power project using U.S. technology has been
implemented successfully and has strong potential for expansion.
Ambassador Blake described the enterprise to Maldives President
Gayoom, who indicated his strong support for such renewable energy
investment. Gayoom currently plans to attend the formal launch of
the already-running pilot project, giving a major boost to the
proposed $90 million expansion to 100 islands.

E. An interior design company handling U.S. brands had in-depth
discussions with prominent Maldivian private sector representatives
and is now in the final stages of securing a viable local
distributor.

Other Results:
--------------

4. In some cases participating companies reported a successful
trade show, although they have yet to report direct sales. For
example:

A. Bell Helicopter attracted a high level of interest from
government officials. The Ministry of Defense is convinced a
helicopter is required for search and rescue missions, and the
company is working closely with government officials to negotiate a
sale. (Note: This would be the first such search and rescue
helicopter in Maldives.)

B. An information technology company reported that, following a
successful show, it is planning a product launch in Maldives later
this year.

C. A company from the Middle East representing U.S. sports
equipment and technology participated at the pavilion for the first
time this year. The company hopes to break into the lucrative
resort market.

D. General Electric was represented by three of its subsidiaries:
GE Energy, GE Water & Infrastructure (out of India) and GE
appliances (out of Sri Lanka). All hope to receive further sales._
(Note: The interest of major U.S. conglomerates in this market is
an indication of the prospects for high end products and technology
in the Maldives.)

E. Although not participating in the American Pavilion, a
representative from Lockheed Martin-India was in Maldives during the
trade show. Post assisted in confirming meetings with the Minister
of Home Affairs, Minister of Defense, and the Managing Director of
the Male' Port. The Lockheed representative reported serious
potential for the sale of a vessel tracking system and is planning
to return with a team to discuss the systems and specific
applications for the country.

BFIF Boosting U.S. Commercial Interests in Maldives
--------------------------------------------- ------

5. Comment: Business Facilitation Incentive Funds (BFIF) continue
to facilitate U.S. exports to Maldives. From its early inception
displaying catalogs to hosting an American Pavilion comprised of
significant U.S. companies at a major trade show, this
BFIF-supported event has achieved remarkable growth. The continued
support of the American Pavilion by BFIF is crucial to advancing
expanding U.S. exports in this market. Post strongly recommends
continuation of funding for the American Pavilion at the Maldives
Hotel and Trade Expo in 2008.
BLAKE

UNCLASSIFIED 2

SIPDIS

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED

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