Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association President Peter Yong Chui Choon warned local companies that they need to work to stay competitive with low-cost challengers in Southeast Asia.
``The industry must move to stay ahead of its competitors by developing business overseas and by looking toward product and business improvements, be it in manufacturing excellence, in speed of production, in quality output or in product design,'' he said at an MPMA annual meeting June 10.
He pointed out that the plastics industries in Thailand and Vietnam are growing faster than Malaysia's.
``This also means that our ASEAN neighbors are competing with us - and not in just foreign markets, but right here in our local market as well,'' he said of members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Yong assured members that the MPMA has developed a five-year strategy to sustain and enhance growth in the plastics sector.
The strategy looks at specific activities that would provide platforms for members in three broad areas: know-how, information and marketing channels.
Yong also announced that the European Commission has withdrawn its complaint in an anti-subsidy case against plastic bags exported by Malaysia. Also, the EC will not impose any anti-dumping duties on the bags, he added.
The commission had initiated proceedings against bags imported from Malaysia, China and Thailand in June 2005.
Yong also disclosed that the Malaysian Finance Ministry has abolished a 10 percent tax on dies, molds and mold bases, effective May 11. He said the MPMA and the Malaysia Mould and Die Association had lobbied to abolish the tax since it was levied April 1, 2005.