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MEXICO CITY — A new association representing plastics companies from Mexico to the tip of South America aims to ``define the rules and defend the interests of the region.''

Aliplast, for its Spanish acronym Latin American Association of the Plastics Industry, will organize formally in mid-March at the Brasilplast show in SÌo Paulo, where the group plans to adopt bylaws, said Oscar Sanchez, Aliplast executive secretary.

Sanchez deferred comments to a press statement and declined to answer specifics, pending the passage of the bylaws and statutes.

The decision to form the group, whose members first met last fall in Lima, Peru, resulted from a series of meetings among regional industry executives.

``In these meetings, Latin American industry executives talked about encroaching problems and decided on the need to share findings and find solutions to avert disadvantageous situations,'' the statement said.

Merheg Cachum, a vice president in the new group and a senior industry executive in Brazil, said the association's main goal is to integrate and strengthen Latin American processors.

``Mercosur and the Andean Pact are consolidated trading blocks, and now everybody is talking about a free trade pact with the Americas,'' Cachum said. ``Aliplast will be able to help define the rules and defend the interests of the region.''

Country members include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecua- dor, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Aliplast plans to push for industry standards throughout the region, as well as lobby governments, international organizations, trading blocks and nongovernmental agencies, to promote interests of the industry, the group said.

The group also seeks to speed the pace of technological advances within the plastics industry, to boost production and market growth. The group expects to tackle such issues as supply and pricing of raw materials; worker training; use and exchange of technology; market globalization and regional integration; industry image and the environment; and product promotion.

Hector Mendez of the Congress of the Argentine Plastic Industry will be president of Aliplast in the 1996-97 session, the statement said.

Cachum and Francesco Cecchetti, presidents of the Brazilian Plastic Industry and Mexican Plastics Association, respectively, will be first and second vice presidents.

Aliplast's address is J. Salguero 1939, (1425) Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tel. +54 (1) 821-9603 or +54 (1) 826-6060, fax +54 (1) 826-5480.

Plastics News correspondent Sandra Mara Costa contributed to this story from Brazil.