PlasticsEurope, the European association representing manufacturers of plastic raw materials, presented an analysis of data from the plastics industry in 2011. According to these first estimates, the production of plastics worldwide has reached almost 280 million tons, which it represents a growth of 4% compared to the previous year. At the Spanish level, production grew by 1,9% compared to 2010, reaching 3.600 kt. At present, there are almost 4.000 companies related to the plastic sector in Spain, which directly employ more than 73.000 people. During 2011, exports grew by 4,6%, with the EU member countries being Spain's main trading partners. Ramón Gil, General Director of Plastics Europe Ibérica, highlighted "the importance of investment in innovation and foreign trade as the main avenues for growth".