Disagreement Between ICE and Vinexpo: The Vinexpo Version
Staff Writer - May 14, 2005
As published on May 9, the Istituto per il Commercio Estero (ICE, or Italian Foreign Trade Institute), has pulled out of a deal worth €300,000 with the Vinexpo trade show organization, claiming that the spaces assigned were not the ones they had requested.
As the ICE members are in disarray and confused as to what to do next, Vinexpo chief executive, Robert Beynat, told British magazine Decanter that he was "confused and disappointed" by the situation.
According to Beynat, he met personally with ICE representative in February 2004. At that time he agreed to add 200 square meters to the space assigned to the Italian Institute "but we never agreed that all of Italy could be together in one hall." He said that countries are never put together, in fact even France and Chile have their exhibitors broken up into two areas.
Beynat admits that ICE requested a central position but such an accommodation was refused at the beginning of the negotiations.
ICE said that it had negotiated a central space of 1,100 square meters and only in March 2005 realized that the area assigned did not correspond to its specifications.
So, on the first of April, ironically, April Fools day, Vinexpo received a letter from ICE's lawyers with the request to have its demands met or else the Institute would pull out of the event. The refusal by Vinexpo resulted in the cancellation which followed.
Beynat said also that Vinexpo would pursue the collection of the €300,000 that ICE owed as a result of canceling. He added he was very surprised as the two associations have had ongoing business relations for the past 20 years. He suggested that the breakdown might have been the result of infighting between Italian government ministries.
According to Vinexpo, scores of producers and organizations that were planning to exhibit under the ICE umbrella, are now proactively applying to to rent the space vacated by the Italian Institute, while according to ICE, Vinexpo is offering the reserved spaces to the individual wineries and organizations.