Just why the British Textile Machinery Association (BTMA) is no longer involved in the organisation of ITMA 2003 is expected to become clear over the next few weeks.

The largest textile machinery exhibition in the world is being staged in Britain for the first time, and CEMATEX (the Comite Europeen des Constructeurs de Machines Textiles) insists that the event will go ahead as planned at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham - although without the involvement of the BTMA.

Both CEMATEX and the BTMA have so far refused to comment on the sudden withdrawal of BTMA from the planning organisation, although it is believed that the decision was taken by CEMATEX rather than the British association.

Steve Combes, the deputy chairman of BTMA, said today that he expected an announcement to be made within the next two to three weeks.

"It is frustrating, but I am unable to say anything about the decision at the moment. I am as anxious as everyone else to clear up the mystery surrounding this and I hope that there will be some sort of official statement as soon as possible," he said.

"To a certain extent, CEMATEX are calling all the shots. Until they clarify one or two things for us I cannot say anything, although my understanding is that the exhibition will take place in Birmingham as originally planned."

It is believed that a new organising committee has been formed from delegates of CEMATEX and representatives of the NEC. CEMATEX is also thought to be appointing a full-time organiser to work on the event.

By Clive Hinchliffe.


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