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PREPARATIONS for this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) are well on course with over 20 foreign direct participants already booked to take part in the event.

Chairman Bekithemba Nkomo said last week the number of foreign participants looked set to surpass last year’s figure.

“The response from foreign markets has been pleasing with 20 direct foreign exhibitors having been booked space to date. Again, this compares well with the 13 foreign exhibitors that had booked at this time last year,” he said.

He said the confirmed foreign exhibitors would be coming from China, India, Iran and Germany.

Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa and US were some of the countries that the ZITF chairman said had confirmed coming.

Nkomo said ZITF was also expecting bookings from other countries such as Oman.

Other foreign nations which have expressed interest in participation include Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Ghana, Japan, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates and Zambia, he said.

Nkomo said about 300 direct exhibitors had already booked their space compared to 283 during the same period last year.

He said close to 44 000 square metres of exhibiting space had already been taken up, representing 84% of available space.

Nkomo said they had engaged the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to ensure that foreign companies exhibiting at this year’s edition would have no hassles in bringing their goods into the country.

“On the issue of delays in the clearance of goods and related things, we are working with stakeholders who work closely with Zimra and we are already in discussions with them to see how best we can make sure that goods that are coming for the trade fair are not delayed unnecessarily,” he said.

“We also urge our exhibitors to bring their goods well in time before the exhibition gets going so that they can be cleared and if they are hassles there is still time to correct and change the situation.”

In the previous events, exhibitors faced challenges in bringing their goods through the country’s border posts.

Zambian president Edgar Lungu is set to officially open the 56th edition of ZITF in Bulawayo which will be held under the theme, Stimulating Trade… Seizing Opportunities to Accelerate Growth.

The international trade showcase, which had initially been set for between April 21 and 25, will now run from April 28 to May 2.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard