Indian machinery suppliers are best placed to effectively tap into the fast-expanding plastics and petrochemicals sector in the UAE and the region, owing to factors such as logistical advantage due to geographical proximity, excellent trade and cultural ties, and the unique demographic benefit of trading with a strong Indian-origin business community, said a senior Sharjah official.

Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah, was speaking ahead of the inaugural international plastics conference and exhibition Plastivision Arabia 2012, which is slated to be held at Expo Centre from May 14 to 17, 2012. Plastivision Arabia will be the best platform for Indian businesspeople to explore the regional market, he said.

“A major chunk of the 1.7 million Indian population in the UAE is qualified technical personnel and business people engaged in different fields. Their presence in various segments of petrochemicals and plastics industry is also prominent, while Indians also hold important positions in major companies here. Indian investor attention in the Emirates and the rest of the region is also significant,” said Mr Midfa.

“The UAE plastics industry is projected to grow by 20 per cent year on year on the back of cheap and easily available feedstock and the regional governments’ focus on economic diversification,” he said, adding that there are enough opportunities up for grabs in the region.

The Gulf region, plus Iran and Iraq, holds 56 per cent and 40 per cent of the world’s conventional oil and gas proven reserves. The UAE itself holds the world’s sixth largest proven oil reserves of 98 billion barrels and seventh largest gas reserves of 215 trillion cubic feet, indicating that there will never be a shortage of raw materials for the industry.

Indian manufacturers can also leverage on the flourishing trade ties, with the UAE being the top trading partner of India. According to India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, data for the 2010-2011 fiscal year shows that exports and imports between the two countries totalled US$ 67 billion, with exports amounting to over US$ 34 billion and imports coming in at just under US$ 33 billion.

With the UAE being the commercial and regional re-export hub, Indian plastics machinery suppliers can also explore the rest of the region, with the total number of Indians working and living in the Gulf standing at over six million, and the India-GCC trade accounting for over US$ 130 billion in 2010-2011.

“Proximity to the region will be a great boon to Indian manufacturers. With just over three hours of flying time between the GCC and major cities of India, the cost of transportation and ease of travel for technicians to install and maintain machines will be one of the most cost-effective when compared to any part of the world,” he said.

The majority of the workforce in the UAE constitute Indians and this will help create a unique synergy between both the sides with regards to co-ordination, co-operation and communication in situations that might arise due to expansions, machinery upgrades and maintenance.

Besides, the tie-up between Expo Centre Sharjah and the All India Plastics Manufacturers' Association (AIPMA), the oldest and the largest apex body for the plastic industry in India, will make the participation of Indian manufacturers and suppliers at Plastivision Arabia a smooth affair.

“AIPMA has more than direct 2,500 members and 12,000 members through 27 affiliated associations across India. We represent various segments of the industry such as polymer manufacturers, machinery manufacturers, processors, moulds & dies makers, traders, exporters, manufacturers, processors, moulds & consultants, institutions and many more,” said Mr Jayesh Rambhia, President of AIPMA & co-organiser of the Plastivision Arabia.

“Apart from bringing to Sharjah our expertise in organizing Plastivision India, the fifth largest show of its kind in the world, AIPMA will facilitate the participation of our members and others at Plastivision Arabia,” Mr Rambhia said.

Expo Centre Sharjah will also hold a concurrent show –ArabiaMold – along with Plastivision Arabia, in association with DEMAT, the organizer of world-renowned EuroMold trade show.

The exhibit profile will cover raw materials and auxiliaries, plastic products and processing, machinery and equipment for the plastics and rubber industries, moldmaking, tooling, design and services for the industry.

Plastivision Arabia and ArabiaMold will be organized by Expo Centre Sharjah, in association with the All India Plastics Manufacturers Association and the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.