ROME: The Italian rubber and plastics machinery sector registered strong growth in 2017, with higher production and sales rates compared to the year before. According to the latest figures published by trade body Amaplast, which represents 170 manufacturers of plastics and rubber processing machinery, production grew 10 percent year-over-year to 4.67 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in 2017.
Machinery exports stood at 3.3 billion euros ($4 billion) for the year, up 12 percent compared to 2016. Italy’s domestic market also grew 10 percent at 2.3 billion euros ($2.8 billion), while imports of machinery rose 14 percent at 970 million euros ($1.19 billion).
Commenting on the figures, Amaplast said the double digit increase all macroeconomic indicators set new “all-time records” for the sector. The trade body attributed the recovery in part to the implementation of the “national industry 4.0 plan” in Italy.
In North America, sales to the U.S. increased by 20 percent, while supplies to Mexico fell 17 percent, following a 2016 boom.
“The Trump administration’s threat to impose import duties on various product categories is not expected to affect plastics and rubber processing machinery, equipment and molds,” noted Amaplast.
U.S. production in this sector, said the trade body, cannot meet demand from local manufacturers and “the duties would only be counterproductive.”