At Punjab expo ‘reverse buyer-seller meet’ to push sub-continental trade

Chandigarh, Nov 22 (IANS) Having established itself as a major platform for trade between India and Pakistan, Amritsar’s annual Punjab International Trade Expo (PITEX) is exploring new territory with a ‘reverse buyer-seller meet (RBSM)’ during the event next month.

Nearly 200 buyers from SAARC nations will converge in Amritsar, 250 km from here, for the RBSM, where Indian manufacturers and traders are expecting trade linkages.

“The RBSM during the three-day PITEX-2015, to be held from Dec 4 to 6, will give an impetus to the Make in India initiative. About 150 select buyers will be in Amritsar from SAARC nations, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, besides Iran, who would be engaged in one-to-one business meetings with Indian manufacturers,” Rajiv Bali, chairman of the PHD Chamber of Commerce (PHDCC) Punjab committee, told IANS.

Punjab-based companies will showcase their products, including automobiles, bicycles, agriculture machinery and implements, textiles, home decor, healthcare and medical equipment and sports goods to foreign buyers.

Amritsar, which is just 30 km from the India-Pakistan international border, is getting revived as a major trade centre, which it used to be before partition in August 1947.

The RSBM, the first one in the region, is being organised with the support of the union commerce ministry.

R.S. Sachdeva, co-chairman of the Punjab committee, said: “The chamber has received a lot of interest from multiple trade delegates from the SAARC countries who are probably looking forward to great opportunities of trade from the Indian market.”

“The RBSM is going to open numerous doors of opportunity for small and medium manufacturers and entrepreneurs, especially from Punjab. Besides 150 buyers from SAARC nations and Iran, there will be a delegation of 100 buyers from Pakistan alone. This means there will be a total of 250 buyers who are keen to have tie-ups, one-to-one interaction besides upgrading their expertise with their Indian counterparts,” Sachdeva added.

The decade-old PITEX has established itself as a major trade expo in the region, with manufacturers from India and Pakistan participating in a big way. The trade enquiries at the event last year crossed the Rs.250 crore ($38 million) mark.

“Delegations from industry bodies in SAARC nations like the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce are visiting the meet to discuss business to business opportunities. A few MoUs will be signed during the event,” Praveen Rathee, regional director of the PHDCC, told IANS.

“The global downturn is actually an opportunity for India that we should encash upon,” Rathee added.

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