Taipei Plas expects visitor bump as exports grow

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ORLANDO, FLA (April 4, 7:50 a.m. ET) — Organizers of Taiwan’s largest plastics show, Taipei Plas, expect this year’s edition to see an increase in visitors and exhibitors, pushed by the island’s rising machinery exports and a new trade agreement with mainland China.

The show, which will take place Sept. 21-25 in Taipei, is expected to have 450 exhibiting companies and 17,000 visitors, compared with 419 exhibiting companies and 15,100 visitors in 2010, the last time it was held, Taipei Plas officials said at an April 2 news conference at the NPE show in Orlando.

The growth is being pushed both by rising plastics and rubber machinery exports – up 14.4 percent in 2011 to $1.33 billion – and by the new Economic Cooperation and Framework Agreement between mainland China and Taiwan, said Gin-Huey Yang, a publicity manager for the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (Booth 8790), which operates Taipei Plas.

The ECFA agreement will eliminate tariffs on plastics and rubber machinery exports (and 106 other categories of goods) between Taiwan and China in 2013, Yang said. The agreement took effect Jan 1, 2011.

Taiwan, a small island of about 23 million people, has an outsized plastics machinery industry. Its plastics and rubber machinery sector is the world’s fifth-largest, and is the fourth-largest exporter, according to Taipei Plas officials.

But some machinery sectors are facing challenges, with another speaker at the press conference saying that Taiwan’s manufacturers of injection molding equipment saw their exports drop slightly last year as China and India cooled.

Exports of Taiwanese made molding presses dropped from $883 million in 2010 to $841 million last year, mainly because the Chinese and Indian economies slowed down in the last three months of the year, said Aron Chao, director of international sales for Asian Plastic Machinery Co. Ltd., (Booth 7785) based in Taoyuan, Taiwan.

China, Southeast Asia and India together account for more than half of Taiwanese injection press exports, he said.

‘’We are in very tough situation in the world, especially for injection molding machines,’’ Chao said. ‘’I think the major issue for Taiwan is that China and India went down.’’

‘’It’s still not so good,’’ he said in an interview after his presentation. ‘’We do hope that India will get better after the second quarter. It seems now we see a little light.’’

APM is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based press maker Chen Hsong Group, and has been building injection machines on Taiwan for 30 years.