The traditional National Craftsmanship Fair, which will kick off tomorrow, November 21, in Belo Horizonte, capital of the Brazilian southeastern state of Minas Gerais, will feature representatives from 30 European, African and Asian countries, plus the United States, all of which are part of a project for purchase.
The organization expects for importers to close US$ 1 million worth of deals. Featuring 8,000 exhibitors from Brazil and nine other countries, the fair should generate R$ 30 million (approximately US$ 14 million) in business, according to estimates from the organizers.
The fair, which will run until Sunday, November 26, is promoted by Centro Cape Institute and by Central Mãos de Minas, and should attract 200,000 visitors, 15,000 of them foreign and from other Brazilian states. During the event, business roundtables will be promoted with the objective of facilitating direct negotiation between craftsmen and importers.
The number of foreign buyers at the National Craftsmanship Fair has been increasing throughout the last editions. In 2001, when Cape Institute and the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex) began sponsoring the participation of importers, only five store-owners showed interest.
Last year, the 16th edition of the fair had 82 buyers, from 22 different countries, who attended the event spontaneously. Only three of them had their expenses paid by the organizers. For this edition, 150 foreign buyers are expected.
In addition to the increase in the number of importers in the fair, the export volume also grows year by year. In 2001, craftsmen sold US$ 10,000 worth to foreign customers, but last year the value went up to US$ 621,000.
In order to promote Brazilian craftsmanship abroad even further, Central Mãos de Minas, in partnership with Apex, takes craftsmanship from Minas Gerais to fairs in Germany, Spain and Italy.
Each edition of the National Craftsmanship Fair has a theme. This year, it will be Carnaval. Pieces from the last Mangueira samba school parade, in Rio de Janeiro, will decorate the Expominas pavilion, and Carnaval artists will give workshops for confection of ornaments and percussion.
Besides, at the opening of the fair, samba schools Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel, also from Rio de Janeiro, and íguia de Ouro, from São Paulo, will perform.
According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) Brazil has 8.5 million craftsmen, 500,000 of whom are from Minas Gerais. Annual revenue for the industry is approximately R$ 30 billion (US$ 13.942 billion). In Minas Gerais, the activity yields R$ 3 billion (US$ 1.394 billion).
National Craftsmanship Fair
Date: November 21st to 26th
Address: Avenida Amazonas, 6030 – Gameleira, Belo Horizonte (MG)