MEXICO CITY — A new law has Mexico's plastics associations rethinking their relationship with the government, and consulting with members on what role to take next.
The law gives Secofi, the trade ministry, the task of preparing a list of industries that can form government-recognized chambers. Secofi selected plastics — which started discussions on which association should represent the industry.
The Asociacion Nacional de Plastico Industrial AC had lobbied for the status. Anipac is expected to apply to become the official association, but Director Socorro Sedano said the Mexico City-based group does not wish to comment yet on its plans.
Meanwhile, the head of another plastics industry group proposed creating a National Council for the Plastics Industry to serve as the official chamber. That group would include the estimated 15 plastics associations and organizations now active in Mexico.
``The idea is to leave things as they are, but promote more cooperation among the industry,'' said Monica Conde, head of the plastics industry unit of Camara Nacional de la Industria de la Transformacion (Canacintra). Conde also serves as general director of the Instituto Mexicano del Plastico Industrial, or IMPI, a privately held plastics research and training company.
Conde pointed out that Anipac does not have national representation as required by the new law, since the majority of its estimated 280 members are in the Mexico City metropolitan area, nor does it represent 40 percent of all the industry's members.
Canacintra's plastics section has an estimated 1,400 members from throughout the country, she said.
Why the fuss about which group is designated the official chamber?
For decades, Mexico's business chambers were considered extensions of the government. In recent years the role of the chambers has changed slightly, and they have become more-independent organizations with their own opinions.
The main benefit today is that the government would consult and work with the group on ``designing and carrying out policies, programs and instruments that facilitate the expansion of economic activity,'' as well as promoting affiliates' activities and defending their interests, according to the new law.
Such a relationship may become more important as globalization continues, but Anipac already has taken on that role. For example, Anipac represented the industry during the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
The new law also creates a system that requires all companies to register with their official chamber, although membership is optional and dues are not required.