SINGAPORE — Amid regional uncertainties, the ASEANplas 99 trade show opened March 23 at the 3-week-old Singapore Expo complex.
Lee Yock Suan, Singapore minister for trade and industry, withheld any comment in cutting a ceremonial ribbon opening the four-day show. Singapore's pending budget discussions prompted the silence, according to a show spokeswoman.
In opening remarks, plastics industry leader Tang Chuen Chong called for cooperation ``to bridge the gaps in the plastic community in Asia.'' Tang is chairman of the ASEAN Federation of Plastics Industries and president of the show host Singapore Plastics Industry Association.
``Most of us today are plagued by news of the ailing Asian economies,'' Tang said. ``The new economic reality demands new approaches to business and production.''
ASEANplas 99 has 268 exhibitors from 24 countries, according to the Messe Dusseldorf Asia Pte. Ltd. unit of the major German-based show organizing firm.
Four national pavilions have grouped 64 exhibitors from Germany, 26 from Italy, 18 from Austria and 15 from Malaysia, according to Messe Dusseldorf Asia.
ASEANplas 97, also in Singapore, attracted 336 exhibitors from 25 countries. Smaller ASEANplas events took place in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1998; Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1996; and Singapore in 1995.
The trade ministry owns the Singapore Expo, which cost S$220 million (US$127.8 million) and opened March 4. Eventually, the six halls will have a total of about 648,000 square feet, making it the largest single covered space in Singapore on one level. ASEANplas 99 occupies hall 3 and about one-third of hall 4.