SIAL Middle East, the region’s fastest growing professional trade exhibition for the food, drink and hospitality industries, opens on Monday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and runs until Nov.28. Held in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), the three-day event occupies eight halls at the ADNEC venue, and features three co-located exhibitions, Rice & Grains, ITCA Abu Dhabi and the Emirates International Date Palm Festival. Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee for SIAL Middle East and ADFCA Official Spokesperson, said: “The stage is now set for what must be one of the most important events of its kind in the regional calendar.” This year’s country of honour, USA has 17 exhibitors, participating at SIAL Middle East at a time when US food exports to the GCC last year reached record levels valued at $2.8 billion, with the UAE accounting for almost 36 per cent of those exports. US agricultural products exported to the UAE have grown by almost 13 per cent during the same period (2010-2011) from $856 million to $969 million. Consumer oriented products grew almost 20 per cent to $635 million. The main exports overall were tree nuts $253 million; feeds and fodders $169 million and poultry $85 million.