DUBAI, ArabPlast 2017, the largest plastics, petrochemicals and rubber industry exhibition in Mena, the Middle East and North Africa region, opened on Sunday in Dubai.

The exhibition is being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, and will conclude on January 10.

Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, inaugurated the exhibition, along with other government representatives, business executives and industry experts.

"The UAE and Dubai are a global trade hub where manufacturers are looking to Dubai for the distribution of their products and the formulation of strategic partnerships, not to mention gaining access to many vital markets, thanks to its advanced infrastructure in transportation, distribution, logistics and warehousing," Al Ghurair said.

"The manufacturing sector has achieved positive growth in 2016 in Dubai. World-class techniques in petrochemicals, plastics and rubber are being practised in the UAE and the wider Gulf. This comes at a time when Dubai is opening up new markets, such as in Africa and Latin America, as well as improving the potential of existing markets, such as in India," he added.

Al Ghurair said that many international petrochemical companies have been headquartered in the UAE, due to the innovative visions of its leaders, its business-friendly policies and regulations, and the advantages provided to foreign investors.

Satish Khanna, General Manager, Al Fajer Information and Services, co-organiser of the show, along with Germany's Messe Dusseldorf, said the participation of exhibitors from more than 39 countries reflects the magnitude of the exhibition, regionally and on the global front.

"The strategic position of the UAE make it an ideal place to invest in petrochemicals and related sectors. Our show presents a platform to tap new opportunities and support the petrochemicals, plastics and rubber industries," Khanna added.

"We are proud to launch the show, knowing that the petrochemicals sector is expected to witness potential growth. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the demand for petrochemicals is likely to grow by about 3 per cent a year between 2015 and 2021, with petrochemicals taking a more significant proportion of the oil barrel. Also, new capacities are being brought on track by leading companies in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries," added Khanna.

On its first day, the event registered strong participation, bringing together 972 companies from 39 countries and 12 national pavilions, an increase of 12 per cent in terms of overall display area and 18 per cent in the UAE's presence, compared with the 2015 exhibition, said a statement.

"We expect higher attendance compared to the previous edition. The show is getting bigger exposure and more influence. Being held in the UAE, which is a regional hub that connects India and Asia to the rest of the world, ArabPlast is setting a strong basis as one of the leading events of its kind globally," Khanna noted.

Source: Emirates News Agency