The 2020 Creative Expo Taiwan (CET), Taiwan's largest trade fair for the creative sector, has been suspended due to concerns that the annual event would not be able to live up to its expected quality or fulfill its commitments toward exhibitors and attendees as the battle to eradicate the coronavirus continues.
The event, which was originally scheduled for April 17-26 at three Taipei-based venues — Huashan 1914 Creative Park, Songshan Culture and Creative Park, and Taipei Expo Park's Expo Dome — has attracted more than 600 industry representatives from at least 25 countries each year. In 2019, more than 350,000 Taiwanese and international visitors were drawn to the nation's premier event for cultural and creative goods.
Given forums and pitch events are where the highest degree of interaction would take place among industry representatives, buyers, and attendees, the Ministry of Culture has decided to suspend the expo after a comprehensive assessment was made based on Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) guidelines addressing mass gatherings in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Moreover, some exhibitors are having trouble importing the raw materials they need, forcing them to temporarily shutter manufacturing and production. Coupled with the fact that invited creators and buyers would not be able to attend this year's event due the travel restrictions imposed by Taiwan to prevent the spread of the virus, it is unlikely this year's CET would be able to deliver what was promised to be a vibrant event with an eclectic mix of businesses, artists, and entrepreneurs.
As the three venues are already fully booked for the second half of the year, whether and how the exhibition should proceed will be determined after the pandemic is brought under control.
To ensure the rights of all exhibitors, the Ministry has instructed the event organizers to issue full refunds for booth and rental fees. Furthermore, as disruptions to the cultural calendar will result in significant losses, Taiwanese exhibitors who are suffering from virus-linked operational difficulties are eligible for financial aid and subsidized loans launched by the central government in response to the economic repercussions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
First held in 2010, CET has curated a specific annual theme since 2017 to enhance Taiwan's cultural influence. Since 2016, the number of visitors to the Taiwanese expo has exceeded 200,000, surpassing 300,000 in 2018 and 350,000 in 2019.
More updates will be announced on the CET website and Facebook.