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Festival of India Expo opens in Trinidad

By Paras Ramoutar, IANS

Port of Spain : The Festival of India Expo has opened in Trinidad and Tobago and will continue till Feb 24. The expo was inaugurated by Indian High Commissioner Jagit Singh Sapra Tuesday.

Sapra termed the festival as “an important trade initiative, which will expose Trinidad and Tobago’s consumers to India’s quality consumer goods”.

The exhibition offers local consumers, which include people of the various cultural strains and ethnic groups totalling 1.3 million, a variety of Indian-made goods such as garments, jewellery, footwear, musical instruments, furniture and kitchen utensils.

Amit Alga, president of World Expo Distribution of India, said: “Many would agree that the demand for East Indian fashions and jewellery has grown tremendously. As a result, many of the top businessmen will be introducing new items.”

Vijay Ramai, coordinator of the expo, pointed out that the fair was conceptualised to cater for the many religious celebrations in the country.

Ramai said that February and March are considered to be a time of high trade throughout the world because people prepare for many occasions coming up later in the year.

“Trade shows have now become an integral part of the urban lifestyle of Indian people. Gone are the days when these trade shows were generally based on industrial goods or basically for the business class,” he said.

Business activity between Trinidad and Tobago and India has been on the rise in recent times. Experts estimate commercial activities generate revenue of about $5 million for Indian businessmen, besides providing short-term employment to Trinidadians. The government also makes a good amount by way of import duties and value-added tax.

Makeshift Indian shops also ignite a feeling of nostalgia for the 500,000 strong Indian diaspora in the country.

Linkages with India and Trinidad and Tobago have progressed beyond religious or cultural shows. Both Trinidadians of India-origin and Indians have opened scores of Indian shops and commercial activity is on the rise.