Trade centre to promote exports

6 December 2002

A private company is planning to open a trade centre in Johannesburg’s inner city for local exporters to exhibit products and services to foreign trade missions and visitors.

The International Trade Bureau (ITB) says the exorbitant costs of finding new markets hamper many companies’ ambitions to become successful exporters and that a local trade centre could ovecome this problem.

The ITB says that each year South Africa hosts foreign visitors from 59 European countries, 57 countries in Africa; 30 Asian countries; 25 Pacific Rim countries; 16 countries in the Middle East; 3 Indian Ocean Islands and 39 countries in North, Central & South America.

The original plan was to house the centre at the bottom of Rissik Street, across the road from the SA Revenue Service building, but the company is also looking at a number of alternative buildings in the inner city.

Mile Stojacovic, ITB managing director, said: “The total investment will be an estimated R25 million.’ He said that the venture has the support of the Gauteng Economic Development Agency (GEDA) and the Johannesburg Development Agency. “The project has also attracted the interest of Trade & Investment South Africa, who have been approached to assist in promoting the centre internationally through their consulates and embassies,’ Stojacovic said.

Anton Pispeki, ITB marketing manager, said that they have received many requests from foreign embassies and consulates to open trade offices in the city centre. He said they were currently negotiating with a number of landlords for a bigger building but still expected to open for business in March next year.

At the official launch in September, Graeme Reid, CEO of the Johannesburg Development Agency said: “The International Trade Bureau is one of the many exciting developments and initiatives aimed at regenerating the Johannesburg city centre.”

In addition to the provision of a comprehensive range of trade facilitation services, the international trade centre will offer 15 000m² of permanent exhibition space for 1 310 South African and foreign companies.

It says a plan for the centre, depending on the number of floors, will include a ground floor and lobby dedicated to the South African mining, industrial and capital equipment sector. The first 10 floors will be dedicated to South African products by industry sector.

These industry sectors have been segmented to include mining and industrial; transport equipment; chemical and allied industries; hardware and building materials; defence and telecommunications; electrical and security; textile and tourism; medical and pharmaceutical; and food and beverage.

The remaining floors will be dedicated to exhibiting foreign products organised according to the region from which they originate.

Permanent exhibition space will range in size from 6 – 12m², and exhibition contract terms will be for either 6, 12 or 18 months. The rotation of permanent exhibitors will ensure that as many companies as possible get the benefit of access to foreign markets.

A total of 85 consultants will be employed, which will give the trade centre a ratio of 1 consultant per 15 exhibitors.

SouthAfrica.info reporter