Annunziata Landi from the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade foresees Russia as continuing to offer growing sales opportunities, especially as the domestic plant and machine building sector is far from being able to satisfy demand. What`s more, the investment climate has further improved and Russian companies have significantly easier financing options for the acquisition of cutting-edge equipment than they did a few years ago. Thanks to their state-of-the-art technology, high quality standards and flexibility, the German machine builders have profited from the positive market developments in recent years.

Vera Fritsche from the Fachverband Nahrungsmittelmaschinen und Verpackungsmaschinen (Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association) within the VDMA predicts that the excellent export conditions will remain, especially as demand for high-quality plant and machinery, e.g. fully automated lines, is on the rise.

- German manufacturers of packaging machinery delivered products to Russia to the value of EUR 311 million in the first eleven months of 2007 - equivalent to growth of 22 percent on the same period the year before. The increase was even sharper for machinery used in the production of confectionery and chocolates: Compared to the prior year, it almost doubled over the eleven months from January to November 2007 to reach EUR 59 million - she says.

The Russians are the world`s biggest lovers of confectionery and biscuits. With a per capita consumption of 18 kilograms (figures from 2006), the country lies far ahead of the European leaders, the Scandinavians, who enjoy 13 kilograms per year and the Germans with their roughly ten kilograms annually.

It`s therefore not surprising that Russia is the key market for German
producers of confectionery machinery. Russia`s neighbour Ukraine has recently claimed second place ahead of the USA. German packaging machinery exports to Russia are topped only by those to the USA.

According to Vera Fritsche, UPAKOVKA/UPAK ITALIA was overwhelmingly rated a success by the German exhibitors. - A lot of serious discussions were conducted with the result that numerous orders are anticipated - confirms Fritsche.

Russian exhibitors, notably suppliers of plant and equipment, formed a
substantially more representative showcase at the premier event for their
domestic market than in the past. Many companies rented bigger stands than in 2007 and highlighted a cross section of their product palette.

Trade visitors showed strong interest, carefully comparing quality and prices but also making spontaneous purchases. The high level of interest in innovative packaging technologies and related products could be gauged not only at the stands but also in the throngs of participants in the UPAKOVKA/UPAK ITALIA ancillary programme.

Aside from exhibitor seminars, a series of talks was held by the European Packaging Institute on international trends in packaging design and production. A panel discussion on the relationship between tertiary education and practical industry demands also received a warm reception. What`s more, both exhibitors and visitors made extensive use of the Business Center as a job market and place to forge contacts. Students pursuing qualifications for various segments of the packaging industry were also on hand to answer specific questions. Stand reservations for the next edition of UPAKOVKA/UPAK ITALIA in Moscow have already been made. The 2009 event will once again open its doors in conjunction with INTERPLASTICA and take place between 27 and 30 January.

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