MEXICO CITY — Mexico's 37-year-old plastics industry association is aiming to boost and broaden its membership significantly this year, and also is trying to gather industry support for a national pro-plastics advertising campaign.
Asociacion Nacional de Industrias del Plastico (Anipac) is actively seeking to become a more national organization, moving beyond its roots as a regional association centered around Mexico City.
``We are planning to increase the number of companies that are members from 400 to 600 by the end of 1999,'' said Juan Manuel Alvarez, Anipac president, in an interview during Plastimagen '99, held Feb. 9-12 in Mexico City. ``Currently, 60 percent of our membership is in the Mexico City area,'' he said.
The week of Plastimagen, Anipac set up regional divisions in Merida, in the Bajio (Leon and Guadalajara), Chihuahua and Monterrey, as way to attract more members nationally.
Anipac already has assumed the role of representing the plastics industry in government talks, such as trade-related negotiations. Alvarez said that in the past year, the association has been discussing with its members the viability of forming a state-recognized chamber to represent the plastics industry officially.
Mexico's government trade office, Secretaria de Commercio y Fomento Industrial (Secofi), has granted the plastics industry permission to establish two or three regional chambers, but Anipac is actively going after more national representation.
Monica Conde, president of the plastics section of the national manufacturing chamber Canacintra, doubts that Anipac has close to 400 member companies — she estimates they have only about 120.
Conde said Canacintra's plastics section has 800 affiliates from a total of 1,900 plastics companies that have registered with the government.
``We [plastics] are the largest group in the Canacintra chamber,'' which includes all types of manufacturers, she added.
Conde also is director general of Instituto Mexicano del Plastico Industrial SC, a private-sector Mexico City consulting and training group that last summer reorganized its educational and research activities under an umbrella body called Centro Empresarial del Plastico. IMPI and Anipac are the two main organizations that support Mexico's plastics industry, and have been known to compete in the past.
Anipac, meanwhile, also is initiating discussions with three other groups about the possibility of developing a pro-plastics advertising campaign similar to the high-profile U.S. campaign sponsored by the Washington-based American Plastics Council.
Alvarez said Anipac intends to try to work with the PET recycling group Asociacion para Promover el Reciclado del PET (Aprepret); the bottling and packaging association Asociacion Mexicana de Envase y Embalaje (AMEE); and with the environmental department of the chemical industry association Asociacion Nacional de la Industria Quimica SC (ANIQ).
Anipac met with ANIQ representatives at the beginning of February.
``We don't know what the results will be yet,'' Alvarez said, although he was optimistic that a joint effort among these organizations could achieve more, and perhaps raise more funding, than if each group worked separately to promote the industry.
These groups have cooperated with each other in the past. As far back as 1996, they attempted, together with the government, to develop a national waste policy. And, as of last May, they began meeting to discuss proposals for identifying plastic bottles and containers to aid in the recycling of those products.
The state of the Mexican plastics industry now has largely rebounded from the dreary days following the December 1994 peso devaluation. In 1995, Mexican processors canceled more than $120 million in planned plastics machinery investments, according to Anipac data. But investment now has surpassed 1994's level, reaching $491 million in 1997 and $643 million in 1998, according to an Anipac study.