A business development mission Sept. 25-29 to Poland and the Czech Republic will give U.S. plastics industry executives the opportunity to meet with government officials and tour plants that make medical devices, packaging and products for the automotive and construction industries.
Although central and Eastern Europe account for about 10 percent of Europe's plastics demand, demand in the region grew 4.5 percent in 2005, compared with 1 percent in Western Europe. In addition, exports from the U.S. to central and Eastern Europe increased 32 percent in 2005 to more than $155 million - half of that to the Czech Republic and Poland.
Sponsored by the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Global Business Council, the mission will include networking receptions in Warsaw and Prague, and presentations on the legal, regulatory and investment environments, said Karen Toliver, vice president of international affairs and trade counsel for Washington-based SPI. There will also be the opportunity to meet representatives from U.S. companies operating in Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as government officials.
``It is designed to be exploratory and open up people's eyes to the opportunities'' for export, investment or opening an office or manufacturing site in ``one of the areas that is up and coming for plastics,'' she said.
Tours tentatively are scheduled in the Czech Republic for Vinyl-Flex sro, a closures maker; Tesla Karlin AS, an injection molder of telephone switch exchanger parts; and three manufacturers of automotive components: Siemens VDO Automotive AG, Peguform GmbH and Mifer sro. Tours are being arranged in Poland, said Eugenia Ross, SPI international trade director.
``Income and population continue to grow in central and Eastern Europe and, as income and population grow, people tend to use more plastics,'' said Ross. ``We see a lot of potential and development in the packaging sector for consumer products and foods and for plastic-based components for the automotive sector.''
The mission will spend 2½ days each in Prague and Warsaw. Participants also will visit industrial zones in those areas targeted for manufacturing, including the Lodz special economic zone in Poland, and will receive customized market research reports on the plastics industry in both countries from the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service.
Registration for the mission closes Sept.1. The cost is $5,000 for SPI members.
For more information, visit www.plasticsindustry.org/business/international/trademissions.htm.