Millennium Post

‘Plastic is fantastic, regional industry is now on a roll’

‘Plastic is Fantastic,’ remarked Midfa, in an exclusive to Millennium Post, while describing the India-UAE connection in this regard which is being highlighted through the Plastivision Arabia 2014 that was jointly organised by the Expo Centre, Sharjah and the All India Plastics Manufacturers Association (AIPMA).

‘The second edition of Plastivision Arabia is being held at a time when the regional plastics industry is  on a roll, achieving phenomenal growth in exports and re-exports while also looking to acquire new machinery and technology to keep pace with rising per capita consumption of plastics in the GCC,’ he said while noting that rising exports  and re-exports are also encouraging manufacturers of finished and semi-finished plastic products to look at expanding their capacity and product lines, fueling interest for the upcoming Plastivision Arabia 2014 trade fair from across the world.

‘Dhows plied the waters of the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean over the centuries, bringing spices and other valuable goods. Today, with the regional economies in cruise mode and announcement of a series of mega projects, the regional plastics industry is pressed to produce more to cater to the rising demand from several core sectors,’ Midfa said, adding that ‘here, we see a great opportunity to supply top-end machinery and technology that can help regional plastic factories to ramp up their production and at the same time expand their products.’

Midfa said the Expo Centre, Sharjah — being the oldest such venue in the GCC region since 1977 and subsequently organising solo country shows, expanding to a newer, bigger site with full-fledged state-of-the-art facility  — is drawing majority Indian participation in shows like the Middle East Watch & Jewellery show and Steelfab show.

He said for the first time, the Expo Centre, Sharjah has struck a deal with AIPMA to export their show to Sharjah which is the industrial area of UAE with over 35  per cent of industry based in Sharjah itself. ‘We wanted to add the Plastic show to our existing Steelfab  show because India is our closest partner  due to the centuries-old relationship between Arabs and Indians, proximity to each other’s countries and airlines  access from India to Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other emirates. India has the highest number of expatriates in the UAE — which has become the hub between East and West. While UAE’s population is low — which cannot be compared to India with its over one billion people – at a total eight million comprising Arabs and expatriates from different countries, it has become a hotspot between the East and West.’

He also highlighted signing an agreement in Delhi for the PrintPak Show Association for holding Printpak Arabia alongside Plastivision Arabia’ show at the Expo Centre, Sharjah in April 2014. ‘Our first Printpak Arabia edition will be held in Sharjah. India is and will continue to be ? our biggest single trading partner, besides China and other countries and there are over 100 airlines flying in weekly including Emirates, Air Arabia from Sharjah, Air India and also Abu Dhabi’s Etihad airlines which recently struck a deal with Jet Airways,’ he said.

Noting that the UAE is one of the biggest re-export centres after Hong Kong and Singapore, and also the main economic hub to benefit incoming companies with its local market that extends to the international arena as well through its well-developed infrastructure including hotels, airlines and state-of-the-art facilities,  he said Dubai’s recent win of the EXPO 2020  would enable the emirate to showcase itself while enabling international communities’ business thrust into Dubai and simultaneously boosting the local economy further.

‘Since we are officially unaffected by the recession, we feel the future is very positive.  Though there are problems in the Arab world, the UAE is a peaceful haven for them and hence there is lots of business in the UAE. We have over 200 nationalities living in the UAE, a growing real estate and construction, and also people making their business headquarters in the UAE, besides many businesses moving in here from Europe and the USA for avoiding taxation and recession. Also, since UAE is not dependent on oil and gas like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, we are trying to develop other markets like tourism.’

Midfa, who took over the helm of the Expo Centre, Sharjah 10 years ago, attributes its successes to its location, a cooperative, proactive and business-minded government and leadership being in line with people’s thinking that ensured a comfortable life for both UAE nationals and expatriates.

Pointing out that the India Trade Centre in Sharjah was inaugurated by former Indian President Pratibha Patil last year, he said this would enable India to promote businesses between Sharjah, UAE and the Middle East with India through this centre.
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