Review

Major industrial highlights of 2018

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IMTS

Apart from this, the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) was also held in September this year. The USA based event displayed various technologies for the aerospace, automotives, machine shops, medical and power generation sectors. Showcasing more than 15,000 new machine tools, controls, computers, software, components, systems and processes; the event also hosted four specialised events—Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives (IAMD) USA, Surface Technology USA at IMTS, ComVac USA at IMTS and Industrial Supply USA—alongside IMTS.

Formnext

Formnext is another well known trade show. Held every year, the international exhibition and conference for the next generation of manufacturing technologies was held from November 13–16, 2018 in Frankfurt, Germany. The show has a strong focus on additive manufacturing and displayed the latest innovations in the additive manufacturing sector. Apart from the display of specialised and tech-savvy innovations, Formnext also offered interesting lectures and presentations to enable networking and guide new career opportunities. For instance, the show’s TCT conference invited leading industry players to speak about diverse industry subjects.

JIMTOF

Coming to Asia, one of the leading global machine tool shows JIMTOF was also held this year in Japan. The 29th edition of the trade exhibition displayed the latest cutting edge technologies such as machine tools; oil hydraulic, water hydraulic and pneumatic machinery; high speed steel tools, grinding wheels and abrasives, controller and related software, and so on.

Global trade scenario

Apart from industrial trade shows and product launches, this year was also an eye-witness to global trade crisis between the US and the rest of the world. The drama began on March 1, 2018 when US President, Donald Trump imposed a 25 % tariff on steel and 10 % tariff on aluminium imports as a measure to ‘balance trade’ with individual countries. This rule applied to most of the countries including the European Union, Canada, and Mexico. This policy was heavily criticised by the world as global trade would be affected only for the interests of a single country. This situation resulted in retaliatory tariffs by Canada, the EU and Mexico.

Post this move, Chinawas heavily penalised as the US set a tariff of 25 % on 800 categories of goods imported from China worth 50 billion dollars. The Trump administration claims that China has been practising unfair trade practices and theft of intellectual property for many years, a claim that China disapproves of.

This was continued by significant other tariffs imposed by both – the US and China on each other’s imported goods. China also accused the US of starting a trade war which the Trump administration clearly denies. The recent development at the time of writing this report is that the US President met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Argentina. Fresh reports have stated that both the countries have agreed to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days. During this period, the USA and China will work on a possible deal and ease trade tensions between the US and China. It is only a matter of time now to see how successfully the deal works out.

At the Summit, the USA also signed a new trade pact called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) with Canada and Mexico to replace the existing North American Free Trade Agreement, a move which Trump believes is a radical rewrite of the ‘worst trade deal ever made’. However, Canada and Mexico are still concerned as there was no mention of the US withdrawing tariffs on aluminium and steel.

We hope that in the upcoming New Year, the USA is able to solve trade tensions not only with China but other countries as well for the benefit of the global trade scenario.

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