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As the biggest plastics, petrochemicals and rubber industry exhibition in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, ArabPlast 2017, to be held between 8th and 10th January at Dubai World Trade Centre, is set to bring together all key players, experts and industrialists from around the world.

The previous edition of ArabPlast saw the attendance of 906 exhibitors from 41 countries and 27,268 visitors from 119 countries.

"The challenge is getting more amplitude every time and producing larger echoes. We provide a platform for the main players in this industry to showcase their products and exchange expertise and best knowledge. For the 2017 edition, companies from India, Taiwan and Germany have confirmed their participation, with the numbers reaching 110, 95 and 70, respectively. We expect, for instance, a remarkable contribution from the German companies in the plastic production machinery category. China, which is the key export market for Gulf petrochemical products, will be represented by 175 exhibitors," said Satish Khanna, General Manager of Al Fajer Information and Services, organiser of the event.

According to the latest report by the Gulf Petrochemical and Chemical Association, GPCA, titled "Facts and Figures," released during the GPCA forum in November 2016, the petrochemical and chemical industry in the GCC reached a production capacity of 144.6 million tonnes in 2015, more than double its levels in 2005. The GCC chemical industry is a major employer in the region, with a workforce of about 143,000.

According to the report, the most significant growth was witnessed in local petrochemical consumption, which increased by an impressive 10 percent per annum, indicating the sector’s strong multiplier effect on regional industrial and economic development.

Plastic production in the Arabian Gulf is also expected to grow at a steady 3.2 percent until the end of the decade, according to a GPCA study released in January 2016. According to the Gulf Cooperation Council Plastics Industry Indicators 2015 report, plastic production capacity has tripled in the past 10 years, reaching 26.2 million tonnes in 2015, earning US$32 billion in revenues.

"It is a fact that this sector has been impacted during this year by the falling oil market prices and rising feedstock costs. This is one of the challenges that the participants will have to discuss during the three days of ArabPlast 2017 and develop beneficial strategies that target the local and international industrialists and decision makers," Khanna said.

ArabPlast 2017 will enable exhibitors to display their latest products, solutions and technologies, allow them to showcase their ideas to visitors and local authorities, and help them expand their networks and client and partner portfolios.

The exhibition will showcase a variety of products and technologies in injection moulding, blow moulding, wrapping and packaging, pre and post plastic processing techniques, as well as raw materials such as additives and polymers. It will also cover a wide spectrum of plastic machinery, plastic and rubber processing technologies, pre- and post-processing systems, plastic packaging technologies, injection moulding, blow moulding, wrapping technologies, extrusions, chemicals and additives, semi-finished goods, engineering plastics and other plastic products.