HK will return ‘long-term’ to BaselWorld

A “provisional agreement” has been reached between the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Switzerland’s BaselWorld fair, the world’s largest watch and jewelry show, for Hong Kong’s participation “on a long-term basis,” according to a July 22 announcement by the HKTDC’s regional office in Frankfurt, Germany.

HKTDC officials had been negotiating for weeks with MCH Swiss Exhibition Ltd., owner and organizer of BaselWorld. (See Hong Kong plans to return to BaselWorld)

In April 2003, Hong Kong’s exhibitors—with 380 companies, the largest foreign delegation in the Basel show—were barred by the Swiss government from doing business at BaselWorld’s new Zurich venue to prevent the possible spread of the SARS virus. Many Hong Kong exhibitors vowed never to return to Zurich, and some threatened to withdraw completely from future Basel shows.

The new agreement has already been approved by HKTDC’s governing board but needs the endorsement of the six Hong Kong watch and jewelry industry associations that were involved in the 2003 event at Zurich. The council is now consulting with leaders of those associations. “The Council hopes that these and their members will support the proposed new arrangement” with BaselWorld, said the HKTDC statement.

Key elements of the provisional agreement include:

* A return to Basel in “a new ‘trade show’ hall a short walking distance from the main Basel fairground.”
* First choice for the Hong Kong delegation “of space and position” in that new building.
* Fixed participation fees, in Swiss francs, for the next six years.