Middle East-Europe: challenges for the metal industry

Jun 2, 2014

A METEF 2014 Conference, dedicated to the interchange between Europe and the Middle East. June 13, 2014, 9.30, Fiera di Verona.

The GCC is the area where the best practices regarding aluminium technologies and production are well-incorporated; an impressive market where the interests of multiple countries come together, both those that are technologically advanced as well as producers of petroleum resources and consequently of energy.

METEF and Art Valley are proud of their decision to dedicate a definite event to the topic of the exchange between the European economy and the GCC, an industrial economy and an outstanding region for the most active countries. The keystone of the event is innovation in the GCC, in terms of materials, technologies, machinery and equipment tailored for the users, and the exhibiting companies are top-tier suppliers in the industry.

Another important topic of the conference is the role of the new technologies for Mobility and Transport plans in the Metal Industries in Arab countries.


Metef has shifted the focus to the Middle East and in particular the GCC area – Gulf Cooperation Council – with the conference “The Gulf aluminum industry and its impact on the European market”, organized by Art Valley and Alfin-Edimet, editor of the magazine Aluminum and its Alloys.

As Assomet’s president, Mario Bertoli pointed out as he greeted participants, the aim of the meeting was to present the opportunities that the Gulf has to offer to many Italian SMEs who are able to bring excellent skills and know-how to aid in the development of a local aluminum industry.

A concept echoed by Verona’s mayor, Flavio Tosi, in his introduction to the conference, who stressed: “Verona and its SMEs are at the forefront, with examples of excellence that are outstanding in the international context. Despite the difficulties that our country’s system poses to our entrepreneurs, this edition of Metef has shown that Italian companies can compete globally in high technology sectors such as light metals.”

The conference then kicked off with an opening speech by Art Valley’s Alberto Cavicchiolo, which focused on the importance of the GCC – the area including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar – to trade with the European Union. The Gulf countries are Europe’s fifth largest trading partners, but despite this it is a little-known area and has great potential for further development. This point was highlighted by Roger Bertozzi, head of EU and WTO affairs for FACE, the Federation of Aluminium Consumers in Europe.

“In 2014, the GCC will produce 8% of primary aluminum consumed worldwide, but current investments will increase this share to 15% in 2016. The aluminum industry, with the parallel development of a local processing industry and downstream processing, is set to become the largest non-oil sector in the region’s economy. For European operators this presents new opportunities supported both by local governments’ incentive policies and by a modern infrastructure combined with energy costs that are among the lowest in the world. ”

It is therefore urgent to clearly define the EU-GCC free trade agreement, in negotiation for over twelve years, which would also lead to the elimination of aluminum import duties that have penalized European extruders and processors.

The morning continued with the report by Modar Al Mekdar, CEO of Gulf Extrusion Dubai, who illustrated the potential of the region’s downstream sector, while the panel: “Industrial challenges in the Mena Region for metal and digital cooperation”, coordinated by Roger Bertozzi, featured discussion between Anwar al Qawasmi, CEO of Ramco Qatar, Loris Maestrutti, vice-president Danieli Spa, Anthony Tropeano, CEO of Fata Qatar, Claudio Collinvitti, Director of international Affairs Italfer (FS Group) and Alberto Cavicchiolo of Art Valley.

The second panel, coordinated by Maurizio Melis of Radio 24, focused on the expansion of the GCC’s railway network and the transport sector as an engine of development. The panel – which included Vittorio Trolese of Braking System, Sharat Kumar of Al Jazeera Technology International (Oman), Modar Al Mekdad of Gulf Extrusions, Alessandro Fratini (Tecnimont), Zahi Chahine (Group FPF-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), Eugenio Bettella (Roedl), Lamberto Cremonesi (CREW) Giovanni Pinchetti of Aegis and Alberto Pomari of Metra – compared examples and cases of projects that were completed or currently in progress.

The meeting concluded with the presentation of the study EUROPE – MIDDLE EAST MOBILITY RESEARCH centered on the opportunities offered by transport plans in Arab countries. Art Valley’s Giancarlo Magnaghi, in concert with the Alumni Group from the Politecnico di Milano and Studio Magnaghi, conducted the research.


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