Changes Ahead for DOC’s International Buyer Program?

DARLENE GUDEA, PUBLISHER & EDITOR
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Washington, DC – Changes to the Commerce Department’s International Buyer Program (IBP) are under review and are not expected for a few weeks. But show organizers that want their show(s) to be considered for international promotion can get a head start by requesting a copy of the application forms, says Jim Boney, the program’s manager. Boney is Sector Manager, International Buyer Program, U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce.

The  International Buyer Program helps attract foreign delegations to U.S. trade shows and links them with U.S. exhibitors interested in exporting. More than 30 shows are accepted into the program each year. The selected events are promoted by the DOC’s Commercial Service section through its 160 overseas offices, 107 domestic offices plus State Department embassies and consulates worldwide.  In the last two years, the IBP drew over 150,000 buyers to U.S. shows. Upcoming events that will benefit from the IBP include MAGIC International, PRINT ’05, PACK Expo and The Greater New York Dental Meeting.

Proposed changes include:

  • Increasing the basic participation fee to $9,000 for a show running five days or less (up from $8,000) and $14,000 for a show longer than five days and/or requiring a second International Business Center at the event (up from $12,000).
  • Modifying the IBP from its existing Fiscal Year cycle to a calendar year basis.   To do this, Boney says the proposal calls for the next IBP cycle to cover 15 months — from October 1, 2006 through December 31, 2007 rather than its traditional cycle of October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007.

Boney told Trade Show Executive magazine that a Memorandum of Understanding, a draft of the required Federal Register Notice and an application is moving through the  management chain to the Office of General Counsel for approval.  Once approved, it must be published in the Federal Register to begin the 60-day application period for show organizers who want to apply for FY 2007 International Buyer Program.

“We’re in a ‘wait’ pattern,” Boney says, “due to the legal requirement that applications may not be distributed until publication of the Federal Register notice.” That may take a few more weeks, he says.  But show organizers can get the ball rolling by getting on the request list for the IBP application packet. Reach Jim Boney at (202) 482-0146 or jim.boney@mail.doc.gov.  web: www.export.gov/comm_svc/intl_buyer_program.html.