By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 21 May 2014:
On the third day at the Libya Build 2014 exhibition, Libya Herald asked Ignacio . . .[restrict]Ruales, Foreign Trade advisor of the Spanish Association of Electrical Equipment Manufacturers (AFME – www.afme.es) for some feedback regarding his participation in the exhibition this year.
AFME is based in Barcelona and has a small office in Madrid. It represents 120 companies in the electrical sector.
“This year we brought seven companies. Last year we had 14”, he replied when asked about the size of the Spanish delegation this year. Asked for the reason for the reduction in the number of Spanish participants this year, Ruales said that it was because of a mixture of “the current security situation in Libya and because some of the companies that had participated last have small budgets and have changed their commercial priorities and decided to participate in other exhibitions.”
He thought that there were also “fewer visitors this year” and that last year’s event was “much better”. With regards to the security situation and next year’s participation, Ruales was frank. “Most companies will probably not exhibit again next year if the security situation did not change”, he stressed.
Nevertheless, when asked what was the motivation in coming to Libya in the first place, Ruales said that “For some of the companies here, Libya is still probably one of the most important markets in North Africa. But because of Sunday’s events (the armed attack by state recognized militias on the GNC), things are slow”.
Asked if there had been any major contracts signed, orders or requests for pro-forma invoices during the exhibition, Ruales said that from that point of view, the exhibition had “not been good”. Adding that although one of the companies was in a meeting with the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL)”, and that “they still believe that Libya is a very important market”.
With rumours that some companies were advised by their embassies to leave, Libya Herald asked Ruales if they had been thinking of leaving the show midway through? “One company did leave Monday and another left Tuesday, but the local partner manned the stand”, he explained.
However, he admitted that most of the companies were “leaving tonight (Wednesday) because of the security situation. Our embassy recommended on Monday that we leave as soon as possible”, Ruales revealed.
With regards the organization of the exhibition, Ruales said he was happy with the organizers, adding “although in an international show, it is important to have good air conditioning and internet”, he noted in reference to the hot halls and lack of the promised WiFi.