CHICAGO — The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. announced Wednesday it will conduct full-scale trade missions to Mexico in 1998 and Indonesia/Malaysia in 1999, and will have several smaller projects in China, Brazil and South Africa. SPI's International Trade Advisory Committee will showcase companies at a catalog show at the South African Trade Exhibition from Oct. 21-25, and plans similar activities during the ChinaPlas show in Guangzhou, China, from May 26-30, 1998, and at BrazilPlas in March 1999.
The location of the trade missions is a marked shift from previous efforts, which focused heavily on China and India and were full-blown missions requiring companies to spend $10,000. The new effort also gives companies much cheaper catalog shows, where government or SPI representatives present materials, and cheaper but less clout-driven missions.
``The trade missions have been very successful, but SPI's members have also expressed interest in activities that don't require the time commitment and expense of a full-blown trade mission,'' said Tim Stojka, chairman of SPI's ITAC committee and president of hot-runner maker Fast Heat Inc. in Elmhurst, Ill.
China and India were on SPI's short list for full-scale missions like earlier efforts, but the organization ``wanted to hit some new, big emerging markets,'' said Lori Anderson, director of government affairs for economic and international trade issues for Washington-based SPI.
All the countries that SPI will be going to are on the Commerce Department's list of emerging markets, except for Malaysia.
India is a ``little harder to get into and is more of an unknown question,'' Anderson said.
Tom Schneider, president of Improved Blow Molding Equipment Co. Inc. in Bedford Park, Ill., said a load of 20,000 water cooler bottles in a contract he was involved with were stuck in a port in India for six months because of red tape, after earlier loads of equipment passed through.
China also had many more foreign visitors to NPE than India, and SPI did not want to organize a full-scale trade mission to China because it wants smaller companies to be able to afford one of the Chinese programs, Anderson said.