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Cablegate: Maldives: Emerging Commercial Opportunities Following Bfif

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0974/01 2941033
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211033Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0660
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3388
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 9566
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000974

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/INS AND EEB/CBA FOR DWINSTEAD AND TGILMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: BEXP BTIO ENIV ABUD ECON MV
SUBJECT: MALDIVES: EMERGING COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES FOLLOWING BFIF
TRADE SHOW

REF: STATE 068953

1. Summary: The embassy-organized American Pavilion at the
Maldives International Trade Fair should help boost U.S. exports to
the Maldives. Nine U.S. companies, or their local partners, rented
15 stalls within the U.S. Pavilion. Attendance and interest at the
trade show was satisfactory, though lower than previous years due to
the economic downturn, and exhibitor companies reported reasonable
results despite the slower turnout. As a result of the trade show,
there have been increased sales for a representative of U.S.
specialty-textile producer group Sunbrella, promising leads for HP
in different sectors, significant interest in a power generation and
marine engine supplier, and new inquiries and ongoing sales by a
U.S. food and beverage exporter. End Summary.


Results: Increasing U.S. Commercial Presence
--------------------------------------------

2. The American Pavilion continued to be the major attraction for
the fourth consecutive year at the Maldives Hotel and Trade Expo,
held August 4-6. The then-Charge Jim Moore was present at the
inauguration of the trade show and opened the U.S. Pavilion along
with the Maldivian Minister of Economic Affairs. Moore accompanied
the Minister and officials of the Chamber of Commerce and introduced
them to the U.S. pavilion exhibitors.


Important outcomes
------------------

4. Following are some 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 trade leads and secured a contract to supply
one of the Maldives' premium resorts.

B. A U.S. food and beverage exporter expanded his product range and
reported significant trade leads as a result the trade show. The
company hopes to target USD2-3 million in sales to Maldives in
2009-2010.

C. HP reported many significant inquiries in several sectors,
including telecom, hotels and trade sectors.

D. Cummins, Inc. reported a successful show with new leads in the
resort sector.


Emerging Prospects
------------------

5. Some companies reported a satisfactory trade show and will
actively follow up leads in order to conclude contracts and sales:


A. Cessna attracted keen interest from government and private
officials. This sector warrants close attention, as the Maldives
has one of the largest sea plane fleets in the world.

B. IBM reported many inquiries on IT solutions and equipment from
trading companies, the resort sector and some government
institutions.

C. A U.S. sports equipment company with state-of-the-art gym
equipment reported substantial interest by visitors on treadmills
and other aerobic equipment, with potential to convert this interest
to sales.

D. A Maldivian company promoting Caterpillar generation sets
reported inquiries in power generation equipment. A few new resorts
have planned to use Caterpillar equipment for power generation.


6. Expenditure Report
---------------------

Booth space and stall hire: USD 7,700
U.S. pavilion construction: USD 3,012
Decorations: USD 440
Promotional T-shirts: USD 272
Shipment and clearing charges: USD 1,397
Sampling/display items: USD 244
Courier charges: USD 348
Total: USD 13,413

BFIF expands U.S. Commercial links with Maldives
--------------------------------------------- ---

7. Comment: The American Pavilion fits into post's overall
strategy of increasing ties with the Maldives. Led by USTR, on
October 17 the USG signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
(TIFA) to encourage bilateral trade and investment. Post
appreciates the allocated Business Facilitation Incentive Funds
(BFIF), which has proved an important link in expanding U.S.
commercial links with the Maldives. Many companies currently doing
business in the Maldives were introduced by BFIF-supported
initiatives. Although results were moderate in the initial years of
the trade show, the current success of the U.S. pavilion is due to
BFIF's sustained support for this event. Post strongly recommends
continuation of funding for the American Pavilion at the Maldives
Hotel and Trade Expo in 2010.

BUTENIS

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