"Russia has felt the effects of theglobal downturn. The Russian Economic Report states that while the economy could return to modest growth in 2010, it is likely to continue to be difficult over the next 18 months. The fact that these meetings came in difficult times, where Russia, like the rest of the world, is hoping to recover as soon as possible, was particularly appreciated by those companies and organizations I met, " said Mr. Wiertz.
The meeting also gave EDANA an opportunity to build momentum for the strategic approach to support the development of the nonwovens and related industries across the region, according to Mr. Wiertz.
Future priorities that were highlighted at the meeting included the following: inventory of standards and regulations, comparison with EU and international requirements, and where appropriate, harmonization and lobbying; EDANA training courses in at least two Russian locations—Moscow and St. Petersburg; promotion and networking activities; engaging Russian representatives at scheduled European seminars and exhibition at EDANA's first International Nonwovens Symposium in Saint Petersburg in 2012.
According to an EDANA report, Russian demand for both nonwovens and converted items has increased since 2000, with Russia becoming one of the main destinations for EU products. In 2008, 25,000 tons, representing more than 10% of EU27 roll goods exports were sent to Russia, of which 70% were spunmelt materials. During this same period, 103,650 tons of absorbent hygiene products, representing nearly one third of EU27 exports, were destined for the Russian market.
Based on EDANA statistics, Russian nonwovens production revived in 1999, with carded-needlepunched and PP spunbond roll goods mainly used in geotextiles. While carded-needlepunched materials are still the most important production by volume, major investments were observed over the last two years in PP spunbond and drylaided-spunlaced lines to fulfill the needs of the hygiene and wipes segments. In 2008, Russian nonwovens production was around 45,000 tons. New facilities opened this year and several important projects are also planned to come onstream in the near future.