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Automotive Industries spoke to Cor Dieleman, program manager, trade promotion, Centre for Promotion

In 1971, The Centre for the Promotion of Import or CBI was set up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands to help developing countries export to the European Union. The agency helps the economic development of developing countries by strengthening the competitiveness of those countries’ companies. These companies are those who want to export to the EU. Some of those who CBI helps include those who wish to export to EU countries, business support organizations in developing countries and importers in Europe who want to buy from developing countries.

So for example, this December, the CBI will have two stands at the EuroMold World Fair being held in Frankfurt. Euromold is a major exhibition for mould-making, tooling, design and application development. The CBI’s two stands will offer space to a number of exporters from developing countries. A vast majority of participants represented by the CBI will come from India. “Partly due to its low wage costs, this country is an interesting prospect for European businesses. India’s mould making industry is highly developed, with a skilled and well educated workforce, enabling it to easily fulfill the needs of this knowledge-intensive and labour-intensive sector. Interested parties can visit these companies in the CBI pavilion in Hall 9 (stand G10) and Hall 6 (stand C22),” says a CBI press release.

The companies participating in the fair would have undergone CBI’s export coaching program or ECP. These programs are rigorous courses that offer information and training on subjects covering the entire business process from risk analysis to product realization.
The CBI also offers a variety of market information tools to help exporters and BSOs – such as information on non-tariff barriers, offering a company database and trade promotion efforts.

“The CBI’s BSO development program consists of several institutional support modules tailored to the specific needs of selected organizations, countries and sectors. The ECP’s are targeted at companies in developing countries that have the capacity (or potential) to export to the EU. A company that complies to the following criteria can apply for an ECP need to be at least 51% locally owned, or (co-) owners who reside in another developing country with 25 to 500 employees. They should have no joint venture with a company based in a country with a classification of UMIC or higher, a compliance or the willingness to comply with EU market requirements. No licensing commitments that prohibit or limit export possibilities of products to the EU and competitive prices and sufficient production capacity,” says a CBI statement.

Currently, the CBI offers its services in over 20 business sectors – including everything from industrial machinery to agricultural products to electronic components and business process outsourcing and tourism. Most programs conducted by the CBI to help companies in the developing world, follow a step-by-step approach. They have to undergo the agency’s ECP. This helps companies adapt its approach and product line to EU market requirements and standards and makes them familiar with EU markets and business practices.

Automotive Industries spoke to Cor Dieleman, program manager, trade promotion, Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI).

AI: What are the opportunities for suppliers to the automotive industry in working with CBI?

Trough participation in the Export Coaching Programs ECP’s companies learn about their chances in the European market. What they have to do to meet the requirements of this market and to do it in a structured way. Obviously possibilities depend on products, quality, and price. Other aspects like reliability, flexibility and understanding the customer’s demands are important to stand out.

AI: Can you please give us some example of how automotive suppliers were helped by the CBI to sell in the EU?

Our experts visit the companies and give them advice and suggestions for improvement on the spot. It can be for improving quality, give suggestions for the range. Give suggestions for presentation.
Through an export marketing seminar the companies learn about the requirements of the market and how to address these. Further we expect the participant to write an export marketing plan if they don’t have one.
After going through these phases and if we are convinced about them we offer them the possibility to present themselves in a major trade fair in Europe. It is not a free ride, the have to commit to and invest in these activities. Companies may not expect direct results from first time participation. About 40 percent of the companies is successful after a period of three to four years in serious export orders (more than Euro 100000, – a year).
For other companies it takes longer or they do less.

AI: What kind of companies will CBI be representing at this year’s Euromold? How many of these are automotive companies?

In Euromold 2007 5 companies will be exhibiting in the CBI pavilion. They are making moulds and dies for various applications. All five companies do supply also to the automotive industry.

AI: Most of the companies you will represent at Euromold come from India – why is this?

Apart from India there are some companies in South Africa, Philippines and Pakistan in this program. However for one or another reason these are not exhibiting this time.

AI: What are some of CBI’s plans to help automotive companies in developing countries access European markets?

At this moment we have two programs specifically for the automotive sector, second half of next year we are planning to start a new one. Further we have two programs for Subcontracting, castings and forgings a program for drives, transmissions, hydraulics, and tooling and a program for electronic components. Next year we plan to have a new program for Subcontracting Castings and Forgings as well. About 200 companies are in these programs. These have been selected out of 500 applicants.

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