Meeting in Dubai in June, officials of the Society of Plastics Engineers and the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemical Association signed a memorandum of understanding to start an industry and community education campaign to improve understanding of the plastics industry.
The document, which could lead to technical conferences and workshops in the Middle East, was signed by Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, GPCA secretary general, and SPE President Jim Griffing.
Using GPCA's network in the Middle East, the two organizations will share information about best practices at plastics companies. The working relationship also will highlight the socio-economic benefits of the plastics industry and achieve a wider public understanding of plastics. An education campaign will challenge perceptions of the environmental impact of plastics, SPE said.
“The GPCA and SPE believe in the importance of plastics and their positive contribution to society, which includes job creation and skills development across the [Persian] Gulf region,” said Al-Sadoun.
Since the Middle East is a major exporter of oil and natural gas, government officials are trying to boost the domestic plastics processing sector. “By bolstering the plastics industry through training and knowledge transfer, we will maximize the value of this crucial export,” he said.
SPE CEO Wim de Vos said it was important for Griffing to travel to Dubai to sign the cooperation agreement.
“The Gulf region has a strong and growing plastics industry,” he said. “As the largest network in the plastics world, SPE is excited to be working with GPCA to provide world-class plastics awareness, education and conferencing support. We are convinced that the broadening of SPE's network with and for GPCA's plastics companies will not only enhance further growth in the Gulf region, but will be to the benefit of our complete industry.”
Newtown, Conn.-based SPE is expanding into India as well. SPE will hold its first Antec conference in India, Dec. 6-7 in Mumbai.