Uniform working rules or a flexible approach and communication?

20 / 10 / 2021

Within the framework of the 5pEXPO forum, a plenary session was held on the topic Uniform Rules or Flexibility and Communication? The event organisers are the RF CCI, the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs, and EXPOCENTRE AO.

The meeting was attended by leaders of the congress and exhibition industry of Russia, representatives of government bodies, social agencies, foreign experts. The participants discussed the current state of the convention and exhibition industry, possible approaches to the work organisation in the new conditions, as well as the prospects for the industry development.

The moderator of the first part of the plenary session was Sergey Voronkov, President of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs, General Director of ExpoForum-International. He suggested to discuss the new reality from the point of view of doing business and the role of business events in the economy, social sphere, and business tourism.

Territorial regional chambers, which are operators of the exhibition, fair and congress activities in their regions, are represented at the forum site, RF CCI Vice President Maxim Fateev said in his presentation. According to him, this first of all shows that the industry is alive, and its regional component is developing.

Maxim Fateev also stressed that he considers it necessary to get back to the draft law on the exhibition, fair and congress activities. He suggested discussing this topic within the framework of the events of the forum conference programme.

Vladislav Barmichev, Director of the Department for Regulation of Foreign Trade and Development of the Trade Representation System of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade spoke about activities of the Ministry and the events held over the past year.

One of the pressing issues facing the industry at the moment is related to the restrictions to the participation of foreign delegations in forums and exhibitions. Vladislav Barmichev stressed that the Ministry had prepared a draft government order simplifying this mechanism, but the operational headquarters considered that this initiative was premature. This decision is explained by security measures for the population, noted the representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. At the moment, the rules remain the same, but as soon as the situation becomes more favorable, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will get back to this initiative, he promised.

Vladislav Barmichev also recalled the mechanisms for supporting the industry and encouraging entrepreneurs to participate in exhibitions that the Ministry implements in cooperation with the Russian Export Center (REC). One of such mechanisms is to compensate exporters for the costs of participation in exhibitions. From January 21, 2022, it will be possible to apply for subsidies through a one-stop-shop system, which will speed up and simplify the process. The second mechanism concerns international cooperation and the system of foreign trade missions, which provide active support to Russian manufacturers to enter foreign markets. Trade representatives on an ongoing basis form an online register of priority exhibition events abroad, the participation in which for Russian exporters shall bring the greatest effect. This register is available on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and on the websites of each representative office,  Vladislav Barmichev said.

Pavel Shabalov, Director for Organisation of Business Missions of the Russian Export Center, spoke in detail about the mechanisms for co-financing of the costs of participation in international exhibitions and business missions, as well as new formats for conducting business missions online.

A new compensation programme was launched this year, under which the REC will co-finance the individual participation of an exporter in those foreign exhibitions where group stands are not organised he said.

Alexey Valkov, Director of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum organised by the Roscongress Foundation, dwelled on the organisational features of the SPIEF stressing the need to introduce unified epidemiological safety standards for business events.

Deputy General Director of the World Trade Center Moscow Vadim Subbotin spoke about new formats for holding events at the WTC site.

Alexey Kalachev, General Director of ANO Bid Committee Moscow EXPO-2030, spoke about the format of holding international EXPO exhibitions. The scale of such exhibitions exceeds the Olympic Games, he said. Alexey Kalachev added that Moscow has submitted an application to host EXPO-2030. Other contenders include Pusan (South Korea), Rome (Italy) and Odessa (Ukraine).

The moderator of the second part of the plenary session devoted to practical cases was Sergey Selivanov, First Deputy General Director of Expocentre AO.

From an exhibition of achievements to an exhibition of promotion - this trend was outlined by Alexey Vyalkin, Director General of EXPOCENTRE AO, in his presentation. Our task is to make EXPOCENTRE an integrator of managerial, investment, and economic resources that will allow participating companies not only to show their products at their best, but also to promote them further to certain markets, he noted.

To this end, EXPOCENTRE is trying to expand the range of services for exhibitors, said the EXPOCENTREs Director General. According to him, "B2B and B2C formats have proven themselves excellent, but we looked at the interest of our companies from a different angle." This is due to the fact that one of the most significant problems for our business is an access to long-term financial resources, he said. Nevertheless, it is paradoxical that starting 2015 the number of investment projects with the participation of foreign non-offshore business has been increasing in the regions. In 2017, a record was registered - 239 investment projects. According to Alexey Vyalkin, foreign capital drew attention to the possibilities of production in the regions of Russia.

He noted the following pattern: those countries whose national pavilions are usually formed at major industry exhibitions of EXPOCENTRE are similar to countries that show the greatest interest in the development of Russian enterprises. Naturally, the idea arose that such format as the presentation of investment projects would be in demand both for foreign business and Russian companies, Alexey Vyalkin said. He suggested to review a new B2I (Investment) format. EXPOCENTRE is already making its first steps in this direction. For example, together with development institutions, in particular with Skolkovo, it forms start-up zones for young entrepreneurs, where they can show their technologies, developments, and achievements. The first results have been achieved. For example, at the Metalloobrabotka 2021 metalworking industry exhibition, Skolkovo resident companies signed contracts worth a little less than 250 million rubles.

As part of the discussion, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Bashkortostan Timur Khakimov, President of the Vyatka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Andrey Usenko, General Director of Messe Dusseldorf Moscow LLC Thomas Stentzel, General Director of JSC Ural Exhibition Center Igor Danilov and Head of the Department of Congress and Exhibition Activities of JSC VDNKh Tatyana Anisimova shared the secrets of working in new conditions and spoke about interesting cases.

Video recording of the plenary session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEKmkaHk568

Press Service, EXPOCENTRE AO