It’s bigger, with more exhibitors, and more than 150 international agents already accredited. Fieramilano Rho saw the opening today of the newest edition of Simac Tanning Tech, the international trade fair for machinery and technology for the footwear, leather goods, and tanning industries, with 322 exhibitors taking part. To kick things off, delegates from 20 countries were received and welcomed by ASSOMAC President Gabriella Marchioni Bocca, who invited them all to discover the variety of technological innovations on show at the fair. The event has the important task of trying to rekindle the interest of buyers in a very thorny international context, partly caused by protectionist tendencies, in which there are fewer encouraging signals than in the past. “The market is slowing down but we are committed to stimulating it,” comments Mauro Bergozza, CEO of Bergi (Arzignano), adding with a smile that his approach remains “optimistic, as always”. The Italian machinery and technology industry still accounts for almost 50% of the value of global exports, but after five years of constant growth, sometimes with two-digit growth rates, it ended 2018 at the same level as the previous year. Sales in the domestic market and exports, which together account for 75% of the total turnover of the sector, have remained stable. “I’m confident that it will be a positive exhibition”, explains Sergio Giuliani, owner of Giuliani Tecnologie in Turin, which ended 2018 “with its highest ever turnover for the third year in a row,” and is looking forward to a promising 2019: “We’re not seeing any signs of a slow-down”.