POST TIME: 30 July, 2019 09:38:04 AM
Boom in exports of plastic items
21.65pc growth in export earning in FY19

Boom in exports of plastic items

Exports of plastic products have risen significantly in the 2018–19 financial year compared to FY 2017–18.

The availability of raw materials at a cheaper rate, the production of quality products, a robust government policy framework, enhanced manufacturing efficiency and exports of products to new countries are all helping Bangladesh flourish rapidly in the market, said industry insiders.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), a growth rate of 21.65 per cent, with net export earnings of USD 119.8 million, was achieved in 2018–19 compared to USD 98.48 million in 2017–18.       

Jashim Uddin, the president of the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers' and Exporters' Association (BPGMEA), told The Independent that countries such as the US and in Europe have increased their imports of plastics from Bangladesh compared to a couple of years back. As a new market, Bangladesh has started exporting plastic products to Germany.

About the export factories, BPGMEA president Jashim Uddin said, “To meet the overseas demand, most of the export factories are increasing their capacity. We have been exporting reasonable quantities of film plastic, garment accessories made of plastic and household plastic items to many countries around the world.”

Shamim Ahmed, former president of the BPGMEA, explained the reasons behind the continuous growth. He said, “India started taking recycled PET flakes, which earlier China used to take from us. PET is used as a raw material for making packaging materials such as bottles and containers for packaging a wide range of food products and other consumer goods. Secondly, for four types of products like plastic hangers, plastic toys, PP-woven polypropylene bags and faux fibre bags, exports of these types of products are increasing each year.”        

Mentioning another reason, he said the price of plastic raw materials is stable and that was another reason behind the export growth.

Ahmed also mentioned that China is the prime plastic manufacturing country in the world. As it has started moving towards high-tech industries, there is a massive opportunity for Bangladeshi exporters to increase their global market share.

At present, Bangladesh mostly exports plastic products to the US, Canada and European countries, said Ahmed.

The former BPGMEA president said: “China used to import plastic waste from us for further processing, but it has stopped doing so. The country is closing down plastic waste processing plants because of environmental pollution.”

"Plastic wastes have seen a negative growth of -7.39 per cent. India is importing plastic wastes from us, but the quantity is very small," he added.

Giasuddin Ahmed, the senior vice-president of the BPGMEA, told The Independent: “We import raw materials. The import price of raw materials has decreased. That’s another reason for the positive export growth. We used to import raw materials at USD 1,500 to 1,600 per tonne. This has come down to USD 1,200 to 1,300 per tonne.” Ahmed is also the chairman of Thai Poly Shawn (BD) Ltd.  

“We export plastic bags to countries like Poland, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain, China, India, Nepal, Australia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Hong Kong and New Zealand. We produce 400 to 450 tonnes of plastic products per day,” he said.    

Ahmed also said the government is offering a 10 per cent cash incentive on the exports of plastic products. It will take all steps to ensure the progress of the country's plastic industry, he added.

According to the BPGMEA, Bangladesh imports more than 1,55,000 metric tonnes of raw plastic materials each year, with the figure continuously growing.

“There are 5,000 small, medium and large plastic goods manufacturing units. The number was around 3,000 units a couple of years back,” said Shamim Ahmed. Some 1.2 million people are engaged in this sector, he added.

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.

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 growing as well, and is worth approximately Tk. 35,000 crore, he said.