An Australian export consortium, established by the nation's plastics industry to find new markets, has identified America's West Coast as a major growth market for niche, Australian-made plastic products. The Canberra, Australia-based Australian Plastics Export Consortium Ltd., also known as APEC International, was established in March last year to evaluate and coordinate export opportunities for Australian plastics companies.
Kelvin Fahey, APEC secretary, said the consortium was developed predominately for small and medium companies that are at the forefront of developing new, innovative plastic products, technologies and services.
He said Australia's plastics industry currently has annual export sales of A$300 million (US$233 million), with 85 percent of exports coming from the country's 10 biggest plastic firms.
``There is a need to develop profitable niche markets and lift the profile of small-to-medium companies,'' he said.
APEC's 14 members had combined sales of A$130 million (US$101 million) in the 1995 calendar year.
As well as targeting America's West Coast, Fahey said other potential markets are northern Asia and the Middle East.
One consortium member exporting to North America is Melbourne-based Kevron Plastics Pty. Ltd., which manufactures polypropylene key and luggage tags. In 1995, the firm had export sales of A$1 million (US$780,000) from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Iceland, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Other APEC members include Adelaide-based drinkware and plate manufacturer Romax Quality Products Pty. Ltd.; Melbourne-based injection molding equipment designer and manufacturer DMG Industries Pty. Ltd.; Sydney-based consumer packaging firm Plaspak Ltd.; Melbourne-based plastic design and engineering company Ap-plied Plastic Services Pty. Ltd.; and the Royal Melbourne Insti-tute of Technology's Polymer Technology Center.
Fahey said APEC, initiated and sponsored by Australia's Plastics & Chemical Industries Associ-ation, coordinated purchasing interest from overseas buyers, distributors and agents.
The consortium is keen to attend North American plastics trade fairs and develop network and distribution links with North American organizations.