Foreign products are in abundance at the ongoing Dhaka International Trade Fair, attracting large crowds to pavilions and stalls.
There are 17 foreign countries participating in the show through 44 pavilions and stalls. Over one week into the month-long fair, some are yet to open to the public.
The participating foreign businesses are mostly from India and Indian-administered Kashmir. Their shawls and sweaters are garnering a lot of attention in this peak winter season. Salesman Labeeb said his Indian stall was mostly showcasing Kashmiri shawls. “We came here for the first time and are getting a good response,” he said.
Though visitor numbers were high, sales were not in line with expectations, he added.
Kashmiri businessman Muammer said he too was getting a good response from visitors, given it was his first time here. His winter clothes, including Kashmiri shawls, cost from Tk 2,000 to Tk 20,000.
Though no Pakistani trader could be seen, the country's stalls are full of different salwar kameez.
Sales representative Sumon Billah said they bought Pakistani products from a local importer and had no connection with any Pakistani business.
Alamgir Boksh Pintu, whose stall represented Pakistani company Kreation Corporation, said most of the stalls displaying Pakistani products were run by local importers.
Real Pakistani business owners rarely participated in the fair for they faced difficulties in getting visas, he said.
Thai stalls too are being run by local importers, putting on display some of the country's products, including food items, cosmetics and ornaments. Those of China focused on utensils along with food items and cosmetics.
While Iranian stalls are mostly selling various gemstones, jewelleries and burqas, Turkish ones are drawing in a large number of women interested in interior decoration products such as decorative showpieces and lampshades.
Another prime attraction in Turkish stalls is carpets.
Participating in the fair for the last 10 years, Turkish businessman Halaf Bilal has a mini pavilion with comparatively high-priced carpets, starting from Tk 3,000, which he says are exclusive collections attracting affluent customers.