Export of plastic products has risen significantly in FY2018–19 financial year (July-May) thanks to the availability of raw materials at a cheap rate, quality product production, good moulds, a robust government policy framework, enhanced manufacturing efficiency, and export of products to new and untapped countries, say industry insiders.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), a growth rate of 25.27 percent, with net export earnings of USD 112.79 million, was achieved in FY2018–19 (July-May) compared to the USD 90.04 million in FY2017–18 (July- May).
Jashim Uddin, presdient of the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BPGMEA), told The Independent that the US and European countries had started taking more plastic from Bangladesh than before. “Additionally, Germany has turned out to be a new market for Bangladeshi plastic products, helping us to increase the export growth,” he said.
About export factories, BPGMEA president Jashim Uddin said: “To meet the overseas demand, most export factories are increasing their individual capacities.”
“We have been exporting reasonable quantities of film plastic and garments accessories made of plastic and household plastic items to many countries around the world,” he added.
Shamim Ahmed, former president of the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BPGMEA), said four categories of plastics are being produced in Bangladesh. These include flexible packaging, toys, household products and garment accessories. All these types are exported from here, he added.
“Plastic wastes have seen a negative growth of 21.76 per cent. India is importing such wastes from us, but the quantity is very small,” he said.
However, India has started taking recycled PET Flakes, which China used to take from Bangladesh earlier, he noted. PET is used as a raw material for making packaging materials, he added.
Moreover, the export of four types of products—plastic hangers, plastic toys, PP-woven polypropylene bags, and fax fibre bags—are increasing each year, he said.
Citing another reason, Shamim Ahmed said the price of plastic raw materials was stable and promoting the export growth.
He also said that China was the prime plastic manufacturing country in the world. “As has started moving towards high-tech industries, there is a massive opportunity for Bangladeshi exporters to increase the global market share,” he added.
At present, Bangladesh mostly exports plastic products to the US, Canada and European countries, said Ahmed.
According to the BPGMEA, the plastic industry contributes around USD 900 million to the garments accessories market. Garments accessories and allied products, such as hangers, buttons, clips, collarbones and collar chips, are supplied by local plastic suppliers.
Pointing out some challenges, Shamim Ahmed suggested that proper policy support and further financial incentives could lead to a three-fold increase in this sector’s export earnings in the next couple of years.
The local plastic market is also growing. It has a turnover of around Tk. 35,000 crore, he said. “There are 5,500 small, medium and large plastic goods manufacturing units. The number was around 3,500 units a couple of years back,” he added.
Some 1.5 million people are engaged in this sector, he noted.
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