CHICAGO (Aug. 15, 5:40 p.m. EDT) — Plastics industry officials in India and China are discussing plans for a forum that would coincide with next year's Chinaplas trade show. The forum would be aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries, said officials with India's leading plastics trade association.
The discussions between the Plastindia Foundation and Chinese trade groups and show organizers are in the early stages, but the forum could address issues each industry faces, like environmental challenges or tax policies.
Chinaplas 2007 is slated for May 21-24 in Guangzhou. The forum probably would be repeated at the next Plastindia show, scheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, 2009.
The talks are part of a broader effort by the Indian group to build stronger relationships with plastics officials around the world, including in the United States, said Mahesh Shah, president of the Mumbai-based group, at NPE 2006, held June 19-23 in Chicago.
In particular, officials want to look at how others have tried to boost the public image of plastics.
The effort comes as the local industry faces challenges: The Indian state of Maharashtra, for example, banned plastic bags last year, blaming them for clogging drains after record rains led to flooding that killed 1,000 people.
Shah said Plastindia officials came to NPE wanting to learn more about U.S. efforts like the PlastiVan program, which puts a classroom and certified educators in a truck that travels to schools, or the industry-funded, plastics-themed exhibit at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center in Orlando, Fla.
“We are trying to do the same thing in education,” he said.
One possibility, he said, would be to create an area at industry exhibitions specifically for children, to educate them and get them excited about the industry, he said.
The group has made some efforts, like producing a video on recycling for the general public, and has created areas at trade shows designed to educate government officials. The latter needs to raise awareness of what Shah said are the high taxes and tariffs the Indian industry faces, which he argued are twice those of Chinese firms.
He also said the outreach should tout areas in which plastics can benefit Indian society, such as using more plastics in agriculture to reduce spoilage of fruits and vegetables.