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Updated: 15-12-2006
Outlining the strategic focus of Messe Düsseldorf on the Middle East, senior officials of the exhibition major said that in the wake of faster economic diversification and increased focus on manufacturing, the plastics industry has a major share in the industrial sector of the Arab region.

Quoting industry sources, Mr. Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the exhibitor council of K 2007, world's leading and largest trade show for the plastics industry, said: 'It is estimated that the basic chemical, plastic and metal industry has absorbed 60 per cent of the total industrial investments in Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE and about 90 per cent in Bahrain. This is a very positive and encouraging sign for us to be here to promote K 2007 which will take place during October 24-31.'

'According to estimates by PlasticsEurope, around 304 million tonnes of plastics will be produced worldwide in the year 2010. If this forecast is correct, it would represent annual growth of 5.3 percent Asia is expected to play a larger role as a major share of the world plastics production will be shifted to these countries,' he said.

In three years, the forecast said that 43 per cent of plastics will be produced on the Asian continent, 27 per cent in North and South America, 25 per cent in Europe and 5 per cent in the Middle East and Africa.

'In 2005, according to the manufacturers' association PlasticsEurope, 230 million tonnes of plastics were produced worldwide in 2005. The Middle East and Africa accounted for 5.5 percent of this,' Mr. Reifenhäuser said.

Out of the total production in 2005, around 200 million tonnes of that were plastic raw materials, i.e. materials to be processed into plastic products. As in 2004, Asia and Oceania topped the production statistics with 36 percent, followed by Europe with 29.5 percent and North America with 24.5 percent.

'Middle East will have a significant bearing on the global plastics industry with region fast emerging as a global petrochemicals hub, backed by the advantages of low-cost feedstock and labour, fast growing demand in Asia and new technologies,' Mr Reifenhäuser said.

According to a McKinsey report a paradigm shift is taking place in in the petrochemicals business from the West to the East, with the Middle East emerging as a global hub. According to the report, the Middle East's share in the global ethylene market is expected to grow to 17 per cent in 2010 from 9 per cent in 2004, which means that 40 per cent of all new ethylene capacity will be built in the Middle East. The total global ethylene capacity is projected to increase to 148 million metric tonnes in 2010 from 114 million metric tonnes in 2004.

Commenting on the significance of plastics industry in the UAE, Mr. Satish Khanna, General Manager of l Al Fajer Information and Services, partners of Messe Düsseldorf for Arabplast expo in Dubai, said: 'In the UAE alone, out of the total industrial units, plastics industry constitute over 80 per cent. As economic diversification accelerates and the significance of manufacturing sector increases, plastics industry will grow rapidly as the region has a natural edge in the industry being the hub of the petrochemicals industry.'

Elaborating on the upcoming K 2007, Mr. Erhard Wienkamp, Division Director of Messe Düsseldorf said: 'K 2007 will present the full panorama of offerings on the global plastics and rubber market. Over 2,900 exhibitors will turn out for the global industry's No. 1 trade fair, to be staged from 24 to 31 October 2007.'

He said the world market leaders from Germany, Italy and the USA will be strongly represented, but numerous suppliers from Asia, e.g. China, India, Korea and Taiwan will also be presenting their products.

'K is a mirror of the sector's development. They will all present a unique selection of professional solutions and compete for the attention and purchasing budgets of experts from all over the globe. The international reach and make-up of exhibitors will once again ensure a breadth and depth of product offerings unmatched by any other trade fair in the world,' he added.