HKTDC: Hong Kong delegation will go to Zurich if all others will

The large Hong Kong pavilion of the international Basel watch and jewelry fair will exhibit in the Zurich, Switzerland, portion of Basel 2003 “on the condition that all national pavilions [of the Basel show] will also be relocated to Zurich,” says Lore Buscher, regional director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Frankfurt.

That means, she said on July 2, “there should be no exception” by the fair management of the Basel, Switzerland, show that would “allow any national pavilion to stay in the Basel fairground” for the 2003 show.

However, she noted, the Basel Fair organizer has “reiterated many times that there will be no exception for any pavilions to stay in Basel.”

Buscher said the HKTDC has received “substantial requests” from Hong Kong companies to exhibit in Zurich, so “it is clear that the Hong Kong Pavilion will be staged in Zurich in 2003.” The Hong Kong pavilion is one of the Basel Fair’s largest, with 325 vendors of timepieces and jewelry in six associations.

Buscher’s statement followed the annual meeting in Hong Kong at the end of June of HKTDC directors from around the world. Hong Kong’s participation in Basel 2003 was one of the topics on the agenda.

The management of the Basel Fair, the world’s largest watch and jewelry show, has said it must send the show’s pavilions of foreign vendors to exhibit in Zurich in 2003 because Basel has run out of exhibition space. (Vendors of timepieces and jewelry who exhibit individually, apart from the pavilions, aren’t affected.)

A number of exhibitors in various foreign delegations have criticized the move because they fear they’ll see far fewer visitors and less business in Zurich. A committee of dissident exhibitors announced this week it intends to hold its own four-day show in Lausanne, Switzerland, prior to Basel 2003. The group says 14 countries will be represented at their show.

Buscher said that her regional HKTDC office will assist those Hong Kong firms interested in exhibiting in Zurich, as well as “individual Hong Kong companies who have fulfilled the Basel fair organizer’s criteria [to] exhibit in the brandname halls in the Basel fairground.”