Positive balance for PLAST’03 – international plastics and rubber industries’ exhibition – that took place in 5 days only, from Tuesday May 6 to Saturday May 10, 2003, in 14 halls of Fiera Milano fairgrounds. 
On a net area of 71.336 sqm, almost the same of the previous event and with a slight decrease of the number of visitors (67.907 versus 70.631 of three years ago), the tradeshow recorded a more encouraging statistical result in comparison with the other international exhibitions, which took place in the first months of 2003. This is undoubtedly a satisfactory goal, considering the adverse economic situation and the negative effects of SARS epidemic, of the strong slackening of business travels due also to the worldwide political situation, as well as terrorism risks.
However, beyond the statistics, PLAST’03 has been valued positively due to the surprising shake given to the demand of machinery, equipment and plants compared with the flat trend of orders, which characterized the first quarter of 2003, in Europe. As a matter of fact, several exhibitors at PLAST’03 succeeded in selling their machinery directly during the show; this fact has not happened in the main fairgrounds worldwide since many years. 
Proofs of this unexpected event have been collected in almost all the sections of the exhibition devoted to the machinery: thermoforming machines, extrusion lines, injection moulding machines and blow moulding machines for bottles, welding machines etc. According to the interviews carried out during PLAST, not only Italian exhibitors but also German, Austrian and Taiwanese ones benefitted from this opportunity. 
Therefore, PLAST confirmed once again its feature of worldwide technological display, which has offered every three years an effective promotional and commercial meeting point to exhibitors and visitors. However, it is to underline that the international level of PLAST ’03 – proved by 52 countries represented by exhibitors and visitors coming from 126 different countries – has not been exploited properly by all foreign participants at the Milanese show, as they focus their presence at PLAST on the opportunities offered by the sole Italian market. 
Finally, it is worth pointing out that the “raw materials” section has not been adequately represented within PLAST ’03 layout due to the absence of many worldwide producers, even if those attending the show (such as Basell, Polimeri Europa, Atofina and Degussa) expressed a positive opinion on the exhibition results. In this frame, it could be remarked that the Iranian NPC (National Petrochemical Company) attended PLAST’03 – their first participation at an international show – and decided to introduce and launch their relevant production programme, which stirred up the large interest of many sectoral players. 
Next PLAST has been planned for Spring 2006, in the new fairground of Fiera Milano in Rho-Pero, placed in the immediate suburbs of Milan, where a modern “exhibition machine” will host appropriately a large number of exhibitors and visitors.