Expectations were exceeded when 1,200 business figures attended the International Engineering Fair [MSV] at Exportní dům [Export House].
MSV, held in the second city of Brno (3-7 October), is one of Central Europe’s most important industry events. This year we aimed to truly utilise the presence of so many Czech exporters in one location, and, along with the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation [EGAP], prepare an interesting programme for participants.
For the first time, companies could make use of a complex export advisory service under one roof at Exportní dům. Specialists from the Client Export Centre were on hand, as were EGAP staff, representatives from the Czech Development Agency [ČRA], and also economic advisors from key destinations, for example the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Asides from that we also arranged a number of interesting accompanying events. The Monday to Wednesday attendance certainly outdid what was anticipated.
Along with EGAP and other partners, we organised two major conferences. One of these focused on engineering, the other on Iran. The latter conference was of particular interest to many companies. The participation of 150 exporters served as a sign of the huge interest in information regarding the gradual opening up of Iran. Apart from major events such as these, smaller seminars focusing on the Netherlands and Kazakhstan also met with great success. Total attendance for these occasions numbered 300 people.
We also made maximum use of the prodigious numbers of foreign delegations in order to hold bilateral meetings to discuss opportunities for deeper economic cooperation. I am pleased that foreign partners view the Czech Republic as a promising partner for the future. Furthermore, this year’s engineering trade fair served to demonstrate that we have countless Czech firms that stand a chance of success in a globally competitive environment.
The participation of the ČRA in the trade fair demonstrates the fact that we take seriously the notion of interconnected development assistance and trading opportunities. We believe there is a natural link between development and commercial projects. The old premise that development assistance is charity has long since gone out of the window. Rather, such efforts must be viewed as investment activities.
The Czech Development Agency has launched its own programme to support the Czech private sector in connecting with development cooperation efforts. The “B2B” programme directly supports the emergence of commercial partnerships between Czech subjects and developing countries. It motivates our companies to participate in the Third World by reducing the risks associated with entering challenging markets; we also help such firms with development-related activities.
The author is a deputy to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic