The Netherlands-based Center for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI), helps boost exports from developing countries to the European Union – particularly small and medium enterprise.
“Over the last 40 years, we have opened the doors of European trade to thousands of exporters in developing countries. We offer a needs-driven approach to exporters as well as their business support organizations (BSOs) and governmental authorities. We focus on the link between producing exporters and European buyers. We contribute to strengthening the competitive position of exporters sustainably, assisting them in trading on the European markets,” says a CBI statement. The CBI conducts a range of training programs for exporters as well as business support organizations. For exporters, the training programs cover issues such as market access requirements, effective trade fair participation, corporate social responsibility training, e-Business, website promotion, market research, costing and pricing, internal and external customer orientation and product development. For BSOs, training modules cover topics such as export marketing training, market intelligence and collective trade fair participation.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Cor Dieleman, Senior Programme Manager, Asia & Eastern Europe at CBI what trends the organization has identified in automotive exports from developing countries.
Dieleman: There has been a 56% increase in exports from developing countries over the period 2007 – 2011, excluding Brazil and China. Some major companies started production in countries like Moldova. Trade shows like Automechanika and IAA for commercial vehicles have remained positive for our participants. In India, growth figures have come down a bit making the cash-flow situation of companies, especially the SMEs, more complicated.
AI: How has the CBI’s role evolved or changed to take into account the changing economic situations in the EU?
Dieleman: Competition has increased, leading to higher demands on companies but also on organizations that support and contribute to the development of the sector. We are now looking at the value chain as a whole, and the roles of the individual players. By analyzing the value chain we can identify where the support is needed and which roles should be performed better. We try to get the players to work together.
AI: How are small and medium exporters from Asian countries responding to changing global requirements, and what role has CBI played in helping these exporters?
Dieleman: Depending on the country and sector, some are grabbing the opportunities that the local and regional market is offering. Others are trying to survive by providing information and advice to individual participants, and organizing training in the areas of process control. For the coming years, our focus will be on Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia and Vietnam.
AI: Tell us a little about how CBI helps automotive parts makers enter the EU market – from identifying markets to meeting legal requirements.
Dieleman: We help the parts makers by giving them information about the requirements of the European market and evaluating whether they meet these requirements. During company visits we identify strong and weak points, set an activity plan, and coach companies throughout the implementation phase. Companies have to go for certification themselves if required, but our consultants can guide them to some extent to ensure proper procedures are followed. India has now reached a certain level where we will end our support.
AI: What are some of the training programs you conduct?
Dieleman: The training sessions we organize are aimed at improved production, marketing and management. It is very concise and practical training. Process control is one of the modules, market research, website promotion, participation in trade fairs, costing and pricing are others. They are the essentials to making a company a reliable and interesting partner to enter into a business relationship.