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CEA reveals major plans for Hometech tradeshow

Industry body keen to boost business for US-based members in the Middle East

The world's most powerful consumer electronics industry body, the US Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), will look to leverage its involvement in next month's Hometech Middle East event to create new opportunities for American CE companies in the Middle East.

Speaking to ECN exclusively at last month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro described the Middle East as a rapidly developing market that held great potential for US-based consumer electronics vendors.

He added that the CEA's commitment to heavily promoting Hometech at this year's CES would pay huge dividends for the local consumer electronics industry.

"We are committed to making Hometech a success and an internationally recognised event," said Shapiro. "We've received great interest from CES delegates and exhibitors keen to find out more about Hometech. We are bringing over our own delegation of US industry identities, who are very keen to take a look at what the Middle East industry has to offer."

Shapiro added that the CEA's association with the event would pay dividends in its bid to promote CES in international markets.

"Obviously, Hometech will not be as big as CES in the short-term, because it takes a lot of time to develop an event on this scale," he said. "Our aim is to boost the profile of the CES brand in key markets."

Shapiro said the CEA was committed to exploring new trade opportunities with local manufacturers and consumer electronics brands.

He explained that the organisation had also lobbied the US government in a bid to review visa regulations for Arab nationals looking to do business in the US. Shapiro acknowledged that delays in issuing visas was hindering the development of new commercial opportunities between the US and the Middle East.

"I've testified before Congress about it and we've talked to the White House since September 11," he said. "They're focused on security, but they don't understand the ramifications it has on trade."

Karen Chupka, senior VP, events and conferences, International CES, said the CEA would stage an information session at next month's CES Forum in Washington D.C., providing US vendors with an insight into the challenges of doing business in the Middle East.

"It will provide an overview of what these companies can expect to find and also provide an insight into the Hometech event," she said. "We plan to stress the importance of Hometech to these delegates and the opportunities attending the event would provide in terms of gaining a foothold in the Middle East consumer electronics market.

"Many of our US-based members are unaware of the commercial opportunities available, particularly in the GCC."

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