The Plastics Export Promotion Council of India is launching a warehousing center in Los Angeles to help its 2,200 processor members enter the U.S. market.
``The center will be open by 2008. Our members will be able to bring samples to test [for] local retailers,'' said Jaswanth Soundarapandian, regional director of the Mumbai-based organization, which is sponsored by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The goal is to open more of the centers, in Miami, New York and South America, Soundarapandian said.
The Indian plastics industry has very little foreign ownership, and nearly 90 percent of the processors are small and medium-size enterprises.
``They want to grow bigger, but how? From our perspective, we need to promote trade and investment in a big way,'' Soundarapandian said.
The Indian firms are fully geared for entering the U.S. market, he said. Their competitive advantages include cheaper labor, a domestic resin supply and an English-speaking workforce. ``The infrastructure is improving too,'' he said.
Still, it poses quite a challenge to compete with China. ``Chinese firms have access to cheaper power and better bank credit. The labor cost is higher, but the productivity is also higher than in India,'' he said.
Soundarapandian said Indian molders hope to offer the U.S. market long-lasting products at competitive prices and change consumers' ``use and throw away'' perception of plastic products.
He said India exported $1.6 billion worth of semifinished and finished plastic products in fiscal 2006.