Plastic products at a supermarket in HCM City. The plastic industry is very hopeful of meeting this year’s export target of $3.2 billion. — VNS Photo Xuân Hương
HCM CITY — With solid growth in shipments, the plastics industry will surely meet its full-year export target of US$3.2 billion, according to the Việt Nam Plastics Association.
Speaking to Việt Nam News, Hồ Đức Lam, its chairman, said exports saw impressive growth last year to $3 billion while overall revenues jumped to $12 billion.
“Exports in the first nine months of the year increased by 5 per cent and will continue to enjoy good growth in the rest months of the year.
“The US-China trade war has offered opportunities to Vietnamese plastics firms to boost exports.”
According to the association, exports go to more than 150 countries and territories, with the US and Japan being key markets.
In the domestic market, some industries, even those such as aerospace which use high-grade materials, are shifting to plastic products, and as a result sales have grown rapidly, Lam said.
Locally-made plastic products are confidently taking on imports from Thailand, Malaysia and China, he said.
The industry has stepped up investment in technology and facilities and co-operation with foreign partners to make more products meeting local and export demand, he said.
But it also faces challenges, he said.
“Many countries have put up safeguard measures to protect their domestic plastics industry from imports. Some producers have shifted their production to Việt Nam, which requires the Government and business groups to ensure transparency in the manufacture of products in Việt Nam, and accurate certificates of origin.
“Another challenge is that we are importing 60-70 per cent of raw materials.
“The world commodities market has been volatile, affecting the industry. Besides, the Government plans to raise import tariffs on some raw materials, which will affect producers.”
Foreign investors are enamoured of Việt Nam’s plastics industry due to its high growth rates, increasing exports and enormous potential, he said.
“But huge investments by foreign investors also pose challenges to Vietnamese firms since they have to face fierce competition, requiring them to transform and invest in new technologies to improve productivity and cut costs.”
According to the Việt Nam Plastics Industry Development Plan for the period until 2020 approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the industry is expected to achieve average annual growth of 17.5 per cent in 2011-20.
The industry also targets to become a key sector by 2020 with a high and sustainable growth rate.
It seeks to gradually build a complete supply chain encompassing all stages from raw material production to final processing, increasing the ratio of locally sourced raw materials to reduce reliance on imports.
Phạm Thị Huệ Anh of the University of Economics - Technology for Industries said plastics firms need to further improve designs, models and quality, restructure, invest in advanced technologies, develop local sources of raw materials and cut costs to improve competitiveness.
The Government needs to have policies to encourage investment in raw material production and develop supporting industries, she added.
The plastics industry has nearly 4,000 enterprises, most of them small and medium-sized ones. — VNS