Taipei Plas Adds Shoemaking Technology, Draws Country’s Vice President

Exhibitors held steady from 2016 edition, while total booths were higher; exports are on the rise despite broader global trade anxiety.

For the first time, the biennial plastics and rubber show added a section covering shoe production—ShoeTech Taipei—which incorporates some plastics and rubber technologies while also bringing representation of another strong export market for the island nation.

James C.F. Huang, chairman Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), thanked Chien-Jen Chen, Taiwan’s vice president, for coming to the show, noting that his presence, and the attendance of other elected officials, including Jia-Chyuan Su, president of Taiwan’s legislature, reflected support for the plastics and rubber industry from the country’s government.

Vice President Chen was at the show just one day after Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-Wen delivered a speech in the U.S.—the first time a sitting Taiwanese president has visited the U.S. since 2003. The president stopped in California en route to Paraguay and Belize, where she is making state visits. In Taipei, the vice president reflected on the flexibility of the plastics industry in his opening ceremony remarks.

“What our industry can do is to adjust in a very short time,” Chen said, “and provide very competitive prices to compete internationally.”

Multiple speakers referred to government programs designed to support industry, including the “five plus two” innovative industries plan, which targets seven industries for development, including intelligent machinery, Asia Silicon Valley, green energy, biomedicine, national defense/aerospace, new agriculture and the circular economy. Alex Ko, chairman of the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI) forecast growth of 10% for the plastics and rubber machinery industry in Taiwan in 2018, partially on the basis of those government programs.

Taiwan’s deputy minister of economic affairs, Wen-Sheng Tseng, noted that Taiwan’s plastics machinery sector is among the top industries for the country because, in addition to robust government support, it benefits from a complete supply chain including key components, like servo motors.

The biennial event, which began in 1987, marked its 16th edition in 2018. TAITRA said that in 2017, the output value of plastics and rubber machinery for Taiwan was more than $1.4 billion. Of that, $1.1 billion was exported—a figure that was 12.8% higher than 2016 and positioned Taiwan as the world’s sixth largest producer and export of plastics and rubber machinery.

Compared to Taipei Plas 2016, the show had less exhibitors—497 versus 533—but when ShoeTech exhibitors are added in, the total was the same. Then number of booths, however—2738—was just over 6% higher than 2016 edition. In terms of plastics and rubber trade shows in Asia, TAITRA notes that Taipei Plas trails only Chinaplas and Japan’s IPF. Over the five days of the show, TAITRA forecast that it will draw more than 19,000 visitors

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