LAHORE - Thousands of people thronged the India Show at the Expo Centre here on Sunday but the overall sale at the show remained lower than expected as most of the items were too expensive.

Around 100 stalls were erected in Hall 1 of the expo centre and most of them were decorated with gold, precious stones and artificial jewellery items. Every stall had huge rush, especially of ladies, on the concluding day of Sunday but few dare buy the displayed items.

The main reasons for the high prices were the heavy taxes and duties, of up to 60 per cent of the original price of the items, and the considerable difference in the value of Indian rupee and Pakistani rupee.

Contrary to the expectations of the local business community only light jewellery and few stalls of clothing along with some spices and kitchen items were put on display at the show, observed former LCCI senior vice president Abdul Basit.

He said that the local business community was expecting that Indian manufacturing sector would exhibit their industrial and high tech machinery and tools, and they would gain access to the advanced production tools and techniques, but nothing of that sort was seen in the show in this regard.

Abdul Basit said that people of the two countries zealously meet with each other at this platform but the expected commercial activities were missing. He suggested that the FPCCI should also arrange a ‘Pakistan Show’ in India to exhibit Pakistani products, as there is a “tremendous demand of our goods”.

“We know there are thousands of visitors and more are coming but we don’t know there exact number. The rush is more than we had expected but most of the people are just checking the items and not making any purchases,” said Siddharrthha Jain, a stall holder of Printtech.

“We did not expect this much crowd; I was really shocked,” said Jagdesh, an exhibitor of Rakyan’s Fine Jewellery. He favoured good relations between the two countries as these could result in enhanced trade volume and bring in prosperity to both the countries.

A TDAP official Muhammad Khalid stated that TDAP arranged more than 50 Business-to-business (B2B) meetings of the Indian trade delegates with renowned Pakistani businessmen. The Coffee Board of India, Tea Board of India, Spices Board of India, M/s Sachirom from Agro Food sector expect 30-40 business deals in the near future.

Coffee Board of India was a huge success as it gained 50 potential buyers and made important business deals with Star Foods and The Food Company. M/s Raymond, M/s Frontier Raas, M/s Absolute Man from textile sector have done successful business interactions and business deals worth millions of dollars, they claimed.

Khalid said that M/s Laxmi Jewellers is interested in opening of retail outlets in Lahore. M/s Punjab jewellers is looking into joint ventures with Pakistani stakeholders. M/s Su-kam, M/S DS Group, M/s Thermax explored the engineering sector of Pakistan, while M/s Blossom Aroma, M/s Bajaj Almond Drops, M/s Sage Herbal from Health and Beauty sector made business deals with the Pakistani cosmetic market.

On the other hand, Customs department seized around eight stalls of jewellery and diamond for non-payment of duties at India Show on the first day of the exhibition, which ended on Sunday. Customs officials said that most of companies brought their products through containers and paid their duties. But, they said, eight exhibitors of gold and artificial jewellery carried their items in handbags and came to Pakistan by air, and they did not pay Customs duty.

Therefore, were stopped from displaying their products in the India Show, the officials said. “The non-duty-paid items were sent to Customs warehouse set up at the premises of the Expo Centre Lahore. Later on, after payment, those companies were allowed to display their products for sale to the public,” said an official seeking anonymity.