Dhaka trade fair begins Jan 1 at new venue

Following a year’s gap, the Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) is expected to open as planned on January 1 at its new venue in the capital’s Purbachal.

The 26th edition of the trade fair will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The commerce ministry and Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) are set to organise the DITF at Purbachal for the first time as the event’s previous venue at Agargaon is too small to accommodate the ever-growing number of participants and visitors.

In the past, the streets of Agargaon, Mirpur, Mohammadpur and their adjacent areas would become severely congested during the month-long fair.

“But the new venue has a large space so it will not be difficult to accommodate numerous companies and customers,” said AHM Ahsan, vice-chairman of the EPB.

Organisers were unable to hold the trade fair this year in the face of a rising number of coronavirus cases throughout 2020.

“This time though, the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has had little impact on the registration of local and foreign participants,” he added.

The DITF’s new venue is at the Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre, the country’s biggest multipurpose trade exhibition complex.

The centre is made to host various fairs and business-to-business matchmaking sessions that could facilitate domestic and international trade, and thereby advance the economy.

The project was taken up by the EPB at a cost of Tk 817 crore.

Sitting on more than 26 acres, the two-storey complex has 33,000 square metres of floor space, of which 24,370 square metres are meant to be used for exhibitions.

There are also 800 booths for displaying products, the EPB said during the venue’s inauguration in October.

Besides, the facility has 7,912 square metres of parking space that could accommodate 1,000 cars.

The centre also has a multifunctional hall room with a seating capacity of 473 people alongside a 50-seat conference room. In addition, there are six negotiation rooms, a large cafeteria, an open space for children to play and various amenities.

Md Iftikhar Ahmed Chowdhury, secretary to the EPB, said the total number of pavilions and halls permitted at the upcoming fair has been reduced to 225 in order to maintain social distancing.

Chowdhury added that companies from India, South Korea, Turkey, Pakistan, and other countries have already secured their places at the DITF.

However, he could not say exactly how many foreign and local companies have registered so far.

As set by the EPB, foreign companies have to pay $6,500 to hire a small stall at the DITF and $9,000 for a big one.

In the case of local companies, the lowest rate for a stall is Tk 1.55 lakh while the highest rate is Tk 17 lakh.

Some 45 buses of the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) will provide shuttle service between the DITF and Kuril flyover for both participants and visitors, Chowdhury said.

The entry fee for an adult has been fixed at Tk 40 while it is Tk 20 for a child, he added.