Belgiums plastics and rubber processing sector saw a 6.8% increase in production last year, reports the Belgian association of manufacturers of plastics and rubber articles Federplast.be (Brussels). Turnover was euro 19.6 billion, produced by a total of 35,500 employees. Exports of materials and processed articles increased 8.5% last year over 2006. The 2007 trade surplus is estimated to be euro 9.1 billion, up by 10% over the previous year.
Plastics suppliers report an increase of 3.4% in volume and 7.4% in value last year. Packaging remains the most important market for Belgians plastics-processing sector, resulting in 19% of the total turnover, followed by building and construction (18%), automotive and transport industries (17%), and supplies to the electrical/electronics, medical device, and industrial industries (14%). On the material side, masterbatches, compounds, and recycling accounted for 14% of the total.
Together, Federplast.be and other partners have undertaken a new initiative to promote value-added creation in the plastics sector in the country. Working with local authorities in Flanders and Wallonia, the organization is developing regional competency centers in the Flemish- and French-speaking regions to support research by plastics processors together with academic institutions and technology centers.[email protected]